Future Friday: Your future workforce needs to be taught correctly

Is it more important to be educated or to be smart?
Is it more important to be educated or to be smart?

When you think of your future workforce you need to think beyond just next year. In yesterday’s post featuring The Herman Trend Report it was revealed that educational trends are showing the decline of the numbers of boys going to college. Obviously this will have a future effect on having educated male employees. Or will it?

What is being taught?

In a presentation to the National School Boards Association Futurist David Zach questioned whether children, our future workforce, are being taught the right things. Zach feels that to be successful in the future we need to be teaching kids to be more collaborative. We need to be teaching them to learn to fail small and soon rather than fail big, later. In his presentation he likened this to thinking like a pirate, where “what works now” was the most successful method because generally it was creative.

Is higher education the way to go?

Zach also questions the primary importance being put on higher education. As he was quoted in a report on the NSBA conference “The big lie (is that) to get a good job, you need a good education. I’m all for education but I‘m also for being very smart,” … “When they assume massive debt, they become politically susceptible and they don’t take risks. They don’t start families, they don’t buy homes. If you are participating in this, you are bordering on criminal behavior. We will pay a huge price for this.”
So if we combine what Zach is saying and what the Herman Trend Report we are starting to burden more women with large amounts of debt that will have a negative effect on their ability to be productive.

What is an employer to do?

In an age where there is an increasing emphasis on the importance of a degree an employer is faced with a world where the majority of the degree holders will be women. Men will be less educated. Somehow we will have to figure out what will work for us as employers. Will candidates need to be educated or will they have to be smart? Will they have collaboration skills? Will they be creative and adaptive?
As employers we will be tasked with the challenge of assessing “smart” and not just education. For if we don’t change the emphasis on what is important we will also be contributing to the problem Zach warned the educators about and we too will pay a huge price in the future problems of our workforce.

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