Commercial Awareness

Commercial awareness means understanding the market, identifying opportunities and working with limited resources to create a profit (Wilkinson and Aspinall, 2007).

Information about Commercial Awareness

Commercial awareness is a broad concept that is often used interchangeably with terms such as ‘business acumen’, ‘commerciality’ and ‘business/client focus’ (Raybould and Sheedy, 2005; Stoakes.2011).

Commercial awareness is an individual’s accumulated knowledge of the business world and understanding of what goes on inside and outside organisations. Highly valued and sought-after by employers, who narrowly define the term as "how the business operates and how graduates can add value to the core activities of the business", commercial awareness remains an amorphous term with no clear-cut definition in research or practitioner-based literature (Wilkinson and Aspinall, 2007:4). There is the implicit assumption, however, that commercial awareness is learned through experience and that individuals with higher levels of this competency add greater value to companies than those with lower levels. In 1998 a report by the Trade Association Forum (1998) suggested that commercial awareness was viewed by the majority (74%) of surveyed trade associations as a competency that could be acquired on the job. At the same time less than half of the respondents surveyed felt that their employees had the high levels of commercial awareness needed to pursue strategies to develop commercial services.

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