The Character Gap Is Much Worse Than The Skills Gap

A few years ago Google released an internal study that said there was no correlation that workers with four-year degree equates to successful employees. More recently, Elon Musk (The Tesla and SpaceX innovator) has said he doesn’t care if you have a degree or not.

Employers – recruiters and hiring teams – have been lamenting about the Skills or Talent Gap for over 5 years now. I should know, my day job is a resume writer. In that role, I read a lot about employment trends – what’s hot and what’s not, what’s new and what’s old. I also pay really close attention to the things that recruiters and hiring authorities discuss online and in private settings.

Over the past 6-7 years I have personally seen the job landscape shift from requiring and demanding four-year degrees – to now, a shift away from the four-year degree in favor of interpersonal skills. Interpersonal skills include communication skills, reasoning skills, de-escalation skills, and creativity.

Quite frankly, I am tired of talking about the skills/talent gap – not because it doesn’t exist, because I think there is a gap but because I believe that there is something far worst at play and more sinister.  At any given point there are over 20M people who are looking for work, either in an aggressive and active manner or passively – meaning they are not active job seekers but are open to conversations and potential offers to poach them from their current employers. So there is plenty of talent. The problem I see is not so much a gap in skills but a gap in character.

Think about some of the most costly and damaging high profile hirings over the last 2-3 years, I am talking about harassers and discriminators. Companies are hiring people who are costing them lots of time and money because these folks come and sexually harass their co-workers and subordinates which causes skilled and talented workers to quit – all while the abuser keeps abusing. 

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