Do Leadership Skills Depend on Education: Research By ITMO And Courseburg.ru
Educational online platform Courseburg.ru and ITMO's Institute of Design & Urban Studies conducted a joint research and found out what education do St. Petersburg's top-managers have and how that affects their careers. Most senior managers get higher education so as to solve some particular problem or while they work. Also, short-term courses and personal development trainings are becoming more and more popular. ITMO.NEWS decided to study it deeper and learn which skills apart from common professional competencies help one move up the corporate ladder.
The analytical department of Courseburg.ru and specialists from the Institute of Design & Urban Studies have analyzed 800 CVs of directors and senior executives in St. Petersburg posted on two biggest online job-hunting services. They've also gathered statistics on what education these people got and how.
"The resulting data is quite unconventional. For instance, we've learned that less than 10% of executives have education in the field of law. At the same time, a lot have economic education, which means that the ability to count well and think in numbers greatly contributes to one's skills in management. Thus, our data can help people who plan to work in management be more conscious about their choice of education," commented Courseburg.ru's founder, ITMO University graduate Alexander Alkhov.
43.7% of the executives stated that they got education in the field on economics and accounting. 13.6% got education in the field of personnel management, state management or enterprise management; 6,5% got education in the field of production engineering, 4.5% - in the field of IT and programming, 3.5% in construction, 3.0% in engineering and 6.5% in other technical specialties. Only about 10% have education in non-technical sciences, legal education included.
More than a third of senior managers got their education right after high school - 37.2%; some first completed programs at technical schools and colleges. 10.1% of top managers have advanced education only; 54.3% got their higher education through correspondence or part-time education. Courseburg.ru's analysts state that there must be more of them, as many don't mention in which format they've received their education in their CVs. Many got second higher education when they've already had much practical and managerial experience; for their second higher education, most chose economics and management. Yet, surely, having higher or economic education does not necessarily guarantee one a good position.
"In some cases, getting second higher education is the requirement from higher-ups, so this is education just for the sake of it. Also, there often comes a moment when executives understand that they lack certain skills and competencies, and go for a second higher education. As of now, short-term courses are getting more and more popular, as they offer an opportunity to get particular managerial skills for certain tasks, which one rarely has at a university," explains Alexander Alkhov.
So, the question is: wouldn't it be easier for managers to hire specialists with certain competencies when the need arises? It may be a solution, yet to make use of this approach executives still have to possess sufficient experience and skills necessary to set the right tasks and control the process.
More and more people now understand that it is hard to be successful in the labor market without the so-called soft skills. This notion is supported by particular research, as well. For instance, researchers from the University of Sussex got statistical data stating that the more successful executives are leaders who position their companies as not just means to making money, but socially significant enterprises that have a certain mission and corporate values. It goes without question that such people have to be true leaders, able to lead and set an example.
Unfortunately, most novice specialists start to seriously think about their careers only when their education is almost over. In their early university years, few understand their professional goals, which results in most experiencing problems with finding employment. To avoid that, one has to start learning soft skills when they still study at the university. Experts from the British Psychological Society analyzed the careers of 432 Bachelor's students. It turned out that those who were already set on their future plans and started working on them in their university years were more successful in their professional careers. Also, according to a research by scientists from the University of Georgia, graduates who participated in various volunteer programs, internships and other honorary projects become more successful and get better positions. Such projects are good for getting soft skills, as well.
"It is possible to learn anything. One can get soft skills from short-term programs, not necessarily experience. What is most important is to start applying the new skills to practice," concludes Alexander Alkhov.
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