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Curiosity, empathy and integrity, three key attitudes to face the future

BBVA Global Head of Talent and Culture Ricardo Forcano told the young people attending the jobs forum organized by the newspaper El País that the world in which we are going to live in the coming decades will be one of constant and rapid change, which will radically transform the labor market. The Head of Talent and Culture at BBVA recommended that young people seeking employment cultivate their curiosity, empathy and integrity.

“Technology is going to have a massive impact on the labor market in the coming decades. Millions of jobs will disappear: they will be automated, robotized or replaced with software. But millions of new jobs that are different from the current ones will also be created, many of which we cannot even imagine today,” said Ricardo Forcano at the forum ‘El País with your future job’, sponsored by BBVA.

Against this backdrop, BBVA’s head of Talent and Culture recommended three attitudes and three skills to help young people attending the forum “navigate this unexplored ocean”.

The first skill is programming. “I am not saying that everyone will have to be a programmer, but that they should have a basic understanding of how software works —Forcano explained— because software is taking over the world and there are a lot of physical elements that are already being transformed into software through mobile devices: from maps, radio or television to banks themselves.”

Data, the oil of our era

Among the basic skills of the future, BBVA’s Talent and Culture director also highlighted the ability to manage data. In his opinion, “data has become the new oil of our era, as it is transformed into intelligence that allows us to make better decisions, personalize services for our customers and build more efficient processes.”

“However”, Forcano pointed out, “the great data revolution has yet to come. The development of artificial intelligence or machine learning will allow us to make any device smart, in the same way that the advent of electricity powered our homes and offices.”

But not everything is software, data or engineering. “The ability to design experiences from a human point of view is also vital,” said BBVA’s head of Talent and Culture. “Industries no longer compete solely in terms of product, price, or distribution channel. They also compete when designing holistic and human experiences for their clients,” explained Forcano. Proof of this is that some companies are already incorporating people from the world of the humanities, philosophy, fine arts … who combine creativity and anthropological knowledge.

In the opinion of Ricardo Forcano, the attitude with which people do their jobs is as important as the knowledge they possess. Curiosity, empathy and integrity are the three attitudes BBVA’s head of human resources believes employees should have.

Curiosity to constantly reinvent ourselves

“The traditional model of studying, working, and getting a master’s degree no longer works … That model has run its course. We all have to embark on a journey of continuous learning that lasts throughout our careers. We need the curiosity to constantly reinvent ourselves and try to learn at the speed at which the world changes, ” Forcano explained.

The second attitude necessary for this journey to an unknown world is empathy. “You must be able to put yourself in the shoes of others to build everything from the customer’s perspective, but also to be effective working in a diverse organization.” It is important to enrich and evolve our points of view, to know how to listen.

Principles are the foundation on which everything else is based and should not be negotiable”

And, although we must be flexible in many ways, Forcano has insisted on a third attitude, or rather a way of being. “You must have a few unshakable principles. These principles —he told the young people attending the forum— are the foundation on which everything else is based and should not be negotiable.” Integrity and values are increasingly a competitive advantage for companies, as transparency is one of the main characteristics of the digital world.

BBVA Spain’s Head of People and Values Pedro Méndez at the forum 'El País with your future job’, sponsored by BBVA

What are companies looking for

BBVA Spain’s Head of People and Values Pedro Méndez also participated in the event organized by El País to help Spanish young people find employment. During his speech at the roundtable ‘What companies are looking for: the talents you need’, Mendez explained that “a hiring process is an interesting duality between data and people. First, we massively screen pure, hard and cold data. The second part is seduction, the people part. The interview is a showcase, the time to sell yourself.”

Mendez emphasized the importance of curiosity that Forcano mentioned. “We are in an age where knowledge is tremendously ephemeral. It is the attitude, the proactivity, the need to be permanently learning and training that makes you alive, which makes you employable. And it is important to maintain this attitude over time”.

The attitudes and values needed to work in the new digital environment were also addressed in two of the practical workshops organized by BBVA as part of the forum. The third workshop allowed the young people in attendance to take their first dip in the world of design thinking, a fundamental tool for the design of those “human” experiences that Ricardo Forcano referred to in his speech.

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