Monday, May 02, 2005

Talent, skills and the labor market

Talent: So where is the talent? Deloitte's talent study basically says that with baby boomers (U.S.) retiring, fewer college graduates with the skills needed in the workforce, talent is simply unavailable.

Skills: Check out this innovative general education curriculum at Pomona College. Instead of telling students, "you have to take one science course, one english course, one math course..." their curriculum is based on preparing a student with the skills they will need in life and work. Quite interesting.

Fist of all, very few of us went to college, studied a specific subject (like accounting) and actually went into that profession (like accounting). Even if you did go into that profession, the likelyhood you were still there 10 years later is remote. Second of all, when you have a person sitting in front of you for an interview, their background/experience matters very little. The resume stated the important experiential matters and they passed that test. When they sit in front of you, you are measuring them as a person. Do they have the right skills and qualities that matter to your organization?

Our problem is that more ond more, talent is coming from other countries. So we outsource call centers, and then want to import talent. Bill Gates is even in the fray with the U.S. Congress this week. For example, India is creating a culture where innovation and the skill of continuous improvement is essential. Even low level employees are adopted into this thinking.

As time moves forward and fewer and fewer candidates meet the talent requirements of our organizations, we also need to look forward to the coming generation and the educational institutions to step up to the plate and help us fill this gap.