The big education disconnect.

The image below is a chart I produced as a summary of desk research about talent in the field of science and engineering. Whilst this research was specific to technical talent issues, I hear this talent issue raised at boardroom level in all my clients organisations. All the large organisations I work with have concerns about attracting, retaining and developing talent for the future. The common thread is how hard it seems to be to find good talent.


What I find interesting is when I connect this business issue with what I read in the media about the high levels of unemployment in Europe, particularly in the 18-25 year old population. Then I look at what my children are learning at school and how the academic system measures and rewards people. There is a BIG DISCONNECT!

Schools and colleges tend to encourage projects and tasks where young people learn to work in teams, communicate, and work independently. These things are not measured or rewarded and yet they are top of the boardroom shopping list for talent. The people teaching young people are not often trained or equipped to support the development of these important ‘soft skills’ in young people. It tends to be a case of ‘they have them or they don’t’. Also, in my experience, most of the people I know who achieved high academic prowess have not achieved same level in their work, unless they have stayed in academia. When are we going to start developing young people for the world of work? And when will the world of work be truly ready to accept our young people?

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