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Neo-generalists: the dawn of hybrid profiles

You may think greater specialization is needed to keep up with new business technologies. Surprisingly, however, they actually seem to go hand-in-hand with a cross-functional skills profile that co-authors Kenneth Mikkelsen and Richard Martin call “neo-generalist.”

If you’ve looked at the want ads lately, you’ve probably noticed that it’s not enough to be good at just one thing anymore. In fact, research at Bentley University analyzing 24.5 million job postings nds that “71 percent of in-demand skills are required across two or more job categories.”1 Candidates that have cross-category skills are today’s most valuable talent.
Gary Pinkus, McKinsey & Company’s managing partner for North America, tells The New York Times: “Work used to be much more hierarchical, and in many instances rote.2 In the past, burrowing deeply into a specialty could create a long-lasting career: “But if you look at most companies now, work has become incredibly cross-functional.”

1. “The Time for the Hybrid Job is Now” (Bentley University, February 2016).
2. “How to Become a C.E.O.? The Quickest Path Is a Winding One,” by Neil Irwin (The New York Times, 9 September, 2016).

Excerpt from Business Digest N°284, March 2018

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Caroline Schuurman
Published by Caroline Schuurman