Which drivers of change will affect their skills?
The skills required for business and administration associate professionals have changed considerably in recent years due to globalisation and organisational and technological change.
The increasing penetration of ICT and ongoing digitalisation stress the need for ICT skills of this occupational group across Member States and economic sectors. 4
Some formerly important skills are getting obsolete by the development of “fintech 5
”, related to many routine tasks in financial, accounting and secretarial activities 6
. Technological developments such as “fintech” drive demand for emerging skills, as knowledge of particular software is essential in finance, trade, and commerce. Moreover, there is a widespread need for business and administration associate professionals to understand and deploy an array of new technologies in the context of their organisation. The professionals in this occupation that work with information and data analysis will also need sufficient skills to keep abreast with the greater use of mobile devices (for example, from their clients), which will be able to collect more and richer information and data. This has implications for skills requirements in the use of communications and analytical technologies and, importantly, the analysis of resultant information and data. 7
As employees mainly of business services, business and administration associate professionals need to cope with the challenges posed by ever-increasing globalisation and competition, especially in the exports arena. Growing international business interconnections also require that these associate professionals improve their skills related to cultural awareness, foreign languages, international logistics, foreign regulatory and quality assurance frameworks etc.
Financial and environmental regulations have increased and the trend will continue. In the aftermath of 2008 financial crisis, Europe went through a revision of its financial regulation system 8
, but several objectives still lie ahead (e.g. the banking union) 9
. As one fifth of business and administration associate professionals work for ‘legal, accounting and consulting’ and ‘financial and insurance activities’ sectors, constant update of their financial skills is necessary. Environmental regulation also continues to grow, 10
affecting workers’ skills in wholesale retail trade, real estate activities and construction.
The focus on better and “smart” regulation is a priority for the European Union 11
. As almost one out of five business and administration associate professionals works in the public sector, the relevant changes will require technical and sector-specific knowledge of new legislation, as well as soft skills such as communication and use of social media that enable the dissemination of legislative changes to particular audiences or the wider public.
“While the monitoring of compliance in the financial services sector has traditionally been outsourced with the introduction of these new standards there is more caution in the provision of such services which are more likely in the future to be laid at the feet of the company secretary. (…) With this increased focus on corporate governance, the role of the company secretary has been extended such that the secretary is now seen as the guardian of the company’s compliance with legislative requirements and best practice.
Source: The changing role of the company secretary 12
Risk of automation: As a part of its Digitalisation and future of work project
, Cedefop estimates the risks of automation
for occupations. The most exposed occupations are those with significant share of tasks that can be automated – operation of specialised technical equipment, routine or non-autonomous tasks – and those with a small reliance on communication, collaboration, critical thinking and customer-serving skills. The risk of automation is further accentuated in occupations where employees report little access to professional training that could help them to cope with labour market changes. Office associate professionals are reportedly an occupation with very low risk of automation.