Who decides?

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Who decides?

 “Now, possibly more than ever, there appears to be an impetus for employees to bring skills such as creativity, leadership, and critical thinking to work.”
Closing the employ-ability skills gap
By Jennifer Radin, Steve Hatfield, Jeff Schwartz, Colleen Bordeaux  

This article is well written and holds some ideas well worth delving into – I highly recommend a read. I did wonder however at what has to, or can be done, regarding the quoted section of the article I’ve highlighted/underlined above? The first question which comes to my mind is; who gets to decide what constitutes creativity, leadership and critical thinking skills? This is a critical issue especially as it relates to entry level employees who have not ‘proven’ themselves in the workplace and are not likely to be given a chance – given that the stakes as they exist, and indeed have to exist, in every business – are high. This article, and many like it, make well researched and well meaning cases about the future of work, blah, blah, blah… A pivotal assumption in these sorts of well presented ideas is that we somehow live in societies that are built on meritocracy – but for all intents and purposes we don’t. Don’t take my word for it – pick a search engine and do a search for the word – I did, and came up with a few interesting articles. Here’s a quote from one of them: “Many Western societies–the United States chief among them–are commonly considered to be meritocracies, meaning these societies are built on the belief that anyone can make it with hard work and dedication. Social scientists often refer to this as the “bootstrap ideology,” evoking the popular notion of “pulling” oneself “up by the bootstraps.”

“However, many challenge the validity of the position that Western societies are meritocracies, perhaps rightfully so. Widespread evidence exists, to varying degrees, within each of these societies of structural inequalities and systems of oppression designed and developed specifically to limit opportunities based on class, gender, race, ethnicity, ability, sexuality, and other social markers.” Articles HERE , HERE, and HERE. One site posits {sure the article is more than a few years old – but I challenge you to talk to anyone who’s ever had to look for a job – and they’ll probably agree} that job hunting is a pretty useless way to find a job these days. See article HERE.  Granted, this site is selling a service which itself is probably just as flawed – but the call outs would probably resonate with many people.

Some who study the hiring phenomena indicate that upwards of 70% of jobs are NOT realized through applications – it comes back to the old ‘networking’ routine. See this article ; but were we really looking for leadership, creativity, and critical thinking skills (in the ideal spirit of meritocracy) – wouldn’t we be seeking  additional ways to actually locate those who possess these greatly needed skills? Is the ‘application’ process a thing of the past – A dead horse that millions are still relentlessly flogging?  I cannot tell you how many incompetent people I have encountered in management {an arena which certainly needs the skills pronounced at the beginning of this article} who only have the job(s) they have, because they know someone who knows someone, who knows someone – (there goes the networking circle) (See this article HERE about how these networks can affect people of a certain hue) These networks act like social clubs that render them a member of that select club that literally guarantees entry into jobs, promotions and the like.  We have to really do research and develop better ways of funneling real talent to workplaces of the future. Talent acquisition people have to be overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of job seekers – so it is natural that all sort of seemingly time saving mechanisms have to be deployed to fill slots.  Inevitably though, this leads to the old ‘penny wise and pound foolish’ adage that has  mostly always rang true.  Otherwise we could all just skip the pretense that we’re ‘looking’ for creative people who may possess leadership skills, and may be able to think critically. 

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