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Office Hours: Are Skills and Competencies More Important Than Degrees?
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Office Hours: Are Skills and Competencies More Important Than Degrees?

Cornerstone Editors

NOVEMBER 21, 2018

This post is part of our biweekly "Office Hours" video series, featuring quick career, workplace and leadership tips from talent management experts and business leaders across the globe.

Every now and then, there comes along a rebellious genius who drops out of college to start a company that flourishes into a multibillion-dollar global empire. Some of Silicon Valley's arch elite, like Peter Thiel, are even paying college students to pursue this self-hacked path.

But for most us, a college education remains extremely valuable, even in an economy that puts a high premium on the ability to acquire new skills. Take, for example, the 56 percent pay gap between college and high school graduates—the data shows that those who earn a college degree are able to secure significantly higher-paying jobs.

Janet Clarey, the lead advisor of tech and learning at Bersin by Deloitte, explains in this video why degrees are still valuable, even in the midst of the skills economy. When it comes to recruiting, she says, a college network can help candidates get their foot in the door. Only after the initial vetting do skills and competencies—and candidates' ability to acquire new ones—become more important.

Photo: Creative Commons

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