Business Shared Service Centers in Slovakia are finding it more and more difficult to keep growing. Many of the new open positions require candidates with specific skill sets, and fresh graduates often fail to meet the expected criteria. Through AmCham’s Business Service Center Forum (BSCF), they’ve decided to tackle this problem by preparing their future employees while they are still students. Peter Galamboš, Financial Analysis Consultant at Dell, who is one of the key people involved in the education activities of BSCF, told us more about the course offered to students at five universities in Bratislava and Košice.
Why has BSCF included educational activities and cooperation with universities and high schools among its priorities?
We want to raise awareness of our sector among the general public in Slovakia and specifically among the students as we see them as our potential future employees. We also want to bring added value through our partnership with stakeholders in the education sector through projects which help the students and teachers increase their skill set.
What are the skills that fresh graduates entering the labour market lack the most when it comes to landing a job at a Shared Service Center?
Typically students have general education or they are good when it comes to hard skills. But we see a lack of soft skills, communication in foreign languages (primarily English), practical skills and work experience.
Do lacking soft skills currently present a bigger problem for employers than the insufficient number of candidates from technical universities?
It is combination of both problems. We encounter students from the technical universities who don’t put much emphasis on soft skills as well as students of human sciences with strong soft skills or foreign languages but a lack of technical or analytical skills. Ideally, the candidates should have a bit of both and then they can learn a lot on the job.
Could you briefly describe the idea behind the “Skills for Success - from University to Workplace” course?
Soft skills are one of the key abilities we require from our employees – business partnership, presentation skills, communication, engagement, etc. We perceive this area as a good development opportunity for the students, and we came up with the idea of launching our own university course with business representatives in the role of instructors. Another important aspect of this project was to agree on the course syllabus among the BSC forum members. Our companies have a variety of job profiles, but we all require soft skills from the fresh graduates. So the internal discussion was smooth, and we easily found synergy in its content.
How do you evaluate it so far and what are the plans for the years to come?
The course has received very good feedback from the students, the university management and BSC companies. We already have several success stories of course graduates who ended up in our business centers. We even invite these fresh new employees to the course to present their career path and explain how this course helped them in the business environment. We definitely want to continue with this successful project, and we have the appetite to expand to more universities.
Originally published in Connection, the magazine published by AmCham Slovakia