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  • Writer's pictureMichael Padilla-Pagan Pay

Capacity building and experience will shape the future of work.

I am visiting ICE24 HQ in Prague this week, but also, I like to be involved when I have the time to interview candidates who want to work with us.

In my generation and others, some of us have spent the first third of our lives acquiring the college degrees needed to find jobs. These degrees are the stamps on our professional career passports that paved the way for the remaining two-thirds of our journey. This implies that the nature of our work and the skills and knowledge required to execute it remain unchanged for a lifetime, so false. My parents held one job for life; most of us, like me, have had several – and not just jobs, but I also switched careers.

Our children and the younger population can expect many jobs and careers throughout their professional lives – perhaps even simultaneously with the maturing global economic paradigm shift.

What I can state in interviewing people but also building capacity is that the future of work will not be about college degrees; it will be about job skills and experience. One of the several quests I have been doing is to build and steer those without college degrees toward successful careers and increase diversity in our workforce.

Internally we have shifted our focus from degrees to skills and experience; our goal is to enable a more extensive workforce that represents the diversity of our populations of where we work or have our offices. This approach, we have found, helps close the all too familiar opportunity and employment gaps. Shifting to this approach means transitioning to always-on skills-based education and employment infrastructure that embraces credentials and certification, attributes, cultural intelligence, fitness-for-job, and employment outcomes.

As the CEO and as an organization, the future of work will not only be about hard skills but holistic job skills. Regarding skills, employers look for more than just task-oriented or technical skills. As a company, I want people with an eye for detail, creative problem-solving skills, a collaborative mindset, and an ability to deal with ambiguity and complexity!

These, too, can be learned, often through an apprenticeship program. Our companies work in frontier countries, and we have found that building capacity is the continuing importance of human interaction in the new economy, giving rise to greater demand for roles at the forefront of people and culture.

In short, what is taking place is the lines blur between conventional business roles and technology functions; there is a coming together of digital and human tasks best tackled by people with a broader, more holistic mindset.

As a business leader, I will tell you that finding the right people and people with the right skills and mindset is a serious challenge for any company. We have done a study over the last 18 years of being in business and supporting the customer that using a four-year degree as a proxy for employability means relying on talent with potentially redundant skills rather than lifelong learners with ever-relevant skills.

It hurts us all, too – because our current over-reliance on college degrees further alienates already vulnerable job seekers.

And so, the amount of work we put into changing our mindset around talent and approach to hiring today will determine how far we will get together!

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