How Does the Demand for ‘Talent’ Impact Higher Education?
Used to be, a degree was a prize, a singular indicator that a person held the skills necessary to perform a job well. But things are changing, writes Sean Gallagher, the founder and executive director of Northeastern University’s Center for the Future of Higher Education and Talent Strategy. He posits that today’s work world is influencing higher education to push the value of “talent” over traditional credentials.
“Talent as the organizing principle for activity in the higher education and employment sectors is driven by the convergence of skills demands in the economy; evolutions in public policy; trends in venture and philanthropic investment; and new technology developments,” he writes in EdSurge.
Jobless claims are at extremely low levels—their lowest since 1969—and skills are more valuable than ever. As technology companies continue to proliferate, demand for tech skills—and the people who own them—is at a fever pitch. A full 80 percent of jobs labeled “middle-skill” level require at least a modicum of digital knowledge. The idea of “college-to-career” doesn’t hold as much weight because degrees aren’t always signifiers of the specific talents the new workforce requires.
As Gallagher writes, “…it’s important to keep in mind that the market for experienced talent–recruiting, developing and credentialing the tens of millions of adults who are already in workforce–is many times larger than the traditional college-to-career pipeline that captures so much attention.”
Even the Lumina Foundation, is describing its mission as meeting the nation’s talent needs through both traditional college and workforce credentialing.
“The blurring boundaries between postsecondary education and employment will require new types of collaboration and public-private partnerships, more evidence-based research and new approaches to quality control, standards, and infrastructure,” writes Gallagher.
Check out his full piece here.