The future of tech depends not only on college degrees, but on the right skills.
Ginni Rometty, former CEO of IBM, believes top talent is found among people who possess the right skills, regardless of whether they have earned college degrees.
In the 21st century, technology continues to move at a faster rate than ever before. This has made it harder for workers to find jobs and has caused disillusionment.
This is why for Rometty, it’s crucial that employers focus on hiring workers with valuable skills, not just college degrees.
What’s more, Rometty says that ironically, the 21st century is not going to be an inclusive era for those without equal access to tech training and opportunities.
A lot of people will be left behind and there would be haves and have-nots.
“I think businesses have to believe I’ll hire for skills, not just their degrees or their diplomas,” says Rometty. “Because otherwise we’ll never bridge this gap.”
Rometty says there is going to be a huge inclusion problem, which means there will be a part of society that does not feel the rapid changes in technology will be good for their future. They will therefore feel very disenfranchised.
About 43 per cent of IBM’s job openings in 2019 do not call for a traditional college diploma, says Rometty.
Skills vs degrees: prioritize applicant’s skills to promote inclusivity
The former CEO shared three things that employers should prioritize instead of college degrees.
First, she suggests that companies must value an applicant’s propensity to learn more than their skills. She says that emphasizing an applicant’s ability to learn, instead of what they’ve already learned, has changed how she views the hiring process.
Second, Rometty says companies must offer their workers AI-driven learning systems, similar to a Netflix for learning kind of platform. For instance, a company can offer workers with a few courses in skills in which they need training for. Based on workers’ goals, interests, and performance, the company can provide them with additional courses tailored to their career path within the company.
Lastly, Rometty says companies must be honest about the skills that they really want from workers and guide them to learn them or refine them so they can steer their career path in a direction that depends on their goals within the company.
“We can teach them the hard skills, but it’s the soft skills they need to come in with,” she says.