How are you going to succeed in your career in 2019? That’s the question many may be mulling as they say “farewell” to a year of slow wage growth and uncertainty over Canada’s competitiveness – and look forward to a fresh start.
BNN Bloomberg asked a number of Canadian business leaders – including executives from BlackBerry, Shopify and Martinrea – what they think are the key skills that employees will need in the year ahead. Here are their responses:
“I always thought that what makes a good employee is whether they feel ownership of the business. Therefore, whether you’re making a decision, spending the night or the company’s money, you behave the same way as if it’s yours. If you look at all of the successful tech companies, they all have that characteristic – whether they’re founders or people that are very committed to the company – which is, you think like an owner. For employees to be really valuable, they have to have an owner mentality.”
-BlackBerry Executive Chairman and CEO John Chen
“Two things come to mind when I think about key skills Canadian employees need to stand out in 2019. To me empathy is critical. Empathy is the overarching skill that drives passion and fosters teamwork. For me, personally, part of my success as a leader has been my ability to put myself in other peoples’ shoes, because when you can do that you can ensure that what your team is working on has meaning and purpose. The other key skill I look for is an understanding of and the ability to leverage data – something my team does every day. It may seem like the exact opposite skillset from empathy but, as with everything, it is about balance. We use data every day to stay competitive and, along with our employees, data is our most important asset.”
-Cineplex President and CEO Ellis Jacob
“The key skill Canadian employees need to have is a growth mindset. The ability to showcase that you are continuously improving, adapting and thriving on change will differentiate you from other candidates. Employers will want to invest in fostering your future potential next year and beyond.”
-Shopify Director of Talent Acquisition Anna Lambert
'The one thing that helps candidates stand out is if they can show they’ve been resourceful in the past - and with little guidance they’re able to complete that task and knock it out of the park. The tricky part here, which is both a good thing and a bad thing, is that there’s no metric for resourcefulness. So, it’s all up to the person: You have to be able to pull a story around it and think back for an answer on, ‘When was the last time I was given a task like this at my workplace or at my school and I managed to get it done?'"
-Dot Health Founder and CEO Huda Idrees
“The talent and skills that will be important for 2019 are to be engaged, curious and willing to learn. That’s how you build an entrepreneurial society. People can learn so much in a workplace if they’re curious. We’re seeing that more and more. We’re not just hiring MBAs, but teaching people who are curious and good at what they do. The other thing is, the skilled trades are not like the old days where you just know how to use a weld gun. People have to put things together in a very modern way. So we’re looking for people who come with robotics, engineering and advanced manufacturing knowledge.”
-Martinrea Co-Founder and Executive Chairman Rob Wildeboer
“We look for people who not only have really strong skills, but who have a growth mindset. They're flexible and willing to continue to develop their skills. The pace of innovation is so fast now that most of us will have to continually evolve our skills throughout our working lives.”
-Wealthsimple co-founder and CEO Michael Katchen