96 Future Forwards: Exploring Frontiers in Education
outweigh the benefits to students who decide that their future lies in a
technical field that does not require a university degree.
In the Harvard Business Review’s June 2014 article 21st Century Talent-Spotting, Claudio Fernández-Aráoz asserts a modern reality that in the
21st Century, business is too complex and dynamic to rely on a 20th Century
mindset about how to fill jobs. According to Fernández-Aráoz, who is a
senior adviser at the global executive search firm Egon Zehnder and
author of It’s Not the How or the What but the Who, a 20th Century
approach that simply values skills that are presumed important for a job
have proven to be obsolete as industries, businesses, and the demands
of employees change. He posits that instead of looking solely for these
skills, “hiring for potential and effectively retaining and developing those
who have it – at every level of the organization – should now be your top
priority” if you are in a hiring position.
Fernández-Aráoz goes on to break down the qualities that, according to
his organization’s research, are hallmarks of high potential in employees.
Those qualities are motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and
determination. While few would argue that these are competencies that
cannot be acquired and nurtured through a four-year college experience,
they are far from the academic pursuits that mandate a university
education. Increasingly, these competencies are replacing a university
diploma in the workforce altogether.
According to Shannon May, cofounder of Bridge International
Academies, “diplomas granted by years in school are the dominant
certification of ‘learning.’ Yet, in almost all cases, these diplomas certify
nothing other than the fact that the person in question spent x years in
school. Competency-based certifications testing specific skills, and
bundling individual skills into professional groupings will become a global
currency for both employers and job seekers” in the future.