• Future

Specialists and Managers
outside the “box”

  • Future

Have you ever thought about strength­en­ing your manage­ment team with athletes? Or what valu­able skills refugees and asylum seek­ers in partic­u­lar can bring to the table? Many compa­nies tend to think conser­v­a­tive­ly when it comes to later­al entrants. They rarely look “out of the box”. Yet there are also attrac­tive solu­tions beyond relat­ed profes­sions and reac­ti­vat­ed retirees. We would like to give you some food for thought with this arti­cle from our news­room. In the Valdivia Future series, we regu­lar­ly present new or unusu­al ideas on corpo­rate gover­nance and HR management.

Combat­ing the skills short­age with career changers

By 2030, the number of appli­cants per vacan­cy could fall to 0.38, accord­ing to a recent study by the job plat­form Heyjobs1 . Career chang­ers are part of the solu­tion — many compa­nies have already recog­nised this. Never­the­less, the advan­tages of this person­nel resource are often underestimated:

  • Today, employ­ees’ will­ing­ness to under­go further train­ing and retrain­ing are key success factors. Career chang­ers “inher­ent­ly” bring with them the neces­sary, flex­i­ble atti­tude — and the moti­va­tion to tack­le new topics.
  • Even back­grounds and expe­ri­ences that initial­ly seem exot­ic enrich a team and can lead to new perspec­tives and solutions.

Future oppor­tu­ni­ty Basic skills

But where could the future top perform­ers come from? After all, obvi­ous groups such as foreign skilled work­ers, relat­ed profes­sions or pension­ers are not inexhaustible.

The solu­tion to the riddle is “basic skills”. This refers to person­al­i­ty traits that some­one brings with them from their previ­ous devel­op­ment or career. They can be a prereq­ui­site and even an asset for the tasks in your compa­ny. Examples:

  • Sports profes­sion­als and league amateurs (disci­pline, will to perform, stamina)
  • Refugees and asylum seek­ers (moti­va­tion, resilience, possi­bly even combined with suit­able special­ist knowledge)
  • People with a mili­tary back­ground, espe­cial­ly offi­cers and non-commis­sioned offi­cers (disci­pline, lead­er­ship expe­ri­ence, organ­i­sa­tion­al talent, logistics)
  • Gamers (flex­i­bil­i­ty, curios­i­ty, comput­er skills)

The idea behind it: You are look­ing for people whose mind­set match­es your require­ments, but for whom there are no direct devel­op­ment prospects or career oppor­tu­ni­ties in their current positions.

“Out of the box” will become the stan­dard by 2030

At least that is the view of a study by the Univer­si­ty of St. Gallen and Price­wa­ter­house­C­oop­ers2 . Compared to the pre-coro­na era and even today, in six years’ time, vision­ary think­ing and a will­ing­ness to exper­i­ment will expe­ri­ence the great­est increase in impor­tance in HR along­side analyt­i­cal skills.

Accord­ing to the same study, employ­ee train­ing and trans­for­ma­tion and change manage­ment will also become signif­i­cant­ly more impor­tant by 2030. In short, the differ­ence between the inte­gra­tion of non-special­ist staff and the reor­gan­i­sa­tion of exist­ing staff will there­fore become small­er; the tasks of tomor­row will require retrain­ing and further train­ing for everyone.

From later­al entry to a culture of diversity

In order to attract later­al entrants to strength­en the work­force in the long term, the entire compa­ny should adapt to this strat­e­gy — also to the bene­fit of your core workforce:

  • Train­ing programmes and work shad­ow­ing could be combined with a buddy or mentor model; the selec­tive use of exter­nal part­ners for certain train­ing units is also conceivable.
  • Train­ing, further educa­tion and profes­sion­al devel­op­ment of all kinds should become an inte­gral part of the entire corpo­rate culture.
  • Flex­i­ble career paths also make it easi­er not only for career chang­ers to find their ideal position.

Last but not least, a climate of mutu­al under­stand­ing is impor­tant. The new colleagues should devel­op respect for the chal­lenges and achieve­ments of the exist­ing staff — and vice versa. For exam­ple, create forums and events where newcom­ers can talk about their previ­ous work and expe­ri­ences. This will break down prej­u­dices and help every­one involved to better recog­nise the oppor­tu­ni­ties that the new diver­si­ty offers them.



  1. Recruit­ing Trends 2024; HeyJobs GmbH, 01/24
  2. Trend Barom­e­ter: People Manage­ment 2030 — In the tran­si­tion between tech­nol­o­gy and cultur­al trans­for­ma­tion; Univer­si­ty of St. Gallen, Insti­tute for Lead­er­ship and Human Resource Manage­ment and Price­wa­ter­house­C­oop­ers GmbH, 03/23

(Image source: istockphotos.com)