The Right Tech for the Job: Closing the Gap

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  • From left: Martha Laboissiere, Matt Anchin, Wan-Lae Chang, Charlene Li

  • From left: Martha Laboissiere, Matt Anchin, Wan-Lae Chang,

  • Matt Anchin, Monster

  • Wan-Lae Cheng, Markle

  • From left: Martha Laboissiere, Matt Anchin, Wan-Lae Chang, Charlene Li

  • Charlene Li, Altimeter, a Prophet Company

  • Matt Anchin, Monster

  • Martha Laboissiere, McKinsey & Company

  • Charlene Li, Altimeter, a Prophet Company

Panelists

Matt Anchin
Senior Vice President, Global Marketing and Communications, Nielsen

Wan-Lae Cheng
Senior Director, Markle Foundation

Charlene Li
Principal Analyst and Managing Director, Altimeter, a Prophet Company

Moderator

Martha Laboissiere
Associate Principal, McKinsey & Company


Session Description:
As the economy shifts ever-more rapidly, matching people and their skills with jobs becomes a huge social challenge. We need better training, better awareness of opportunities, and more flexibility on the part of employers. Companies are desperate for appropriate talent, but emerging systems suggest that tech could help bring people and jobs together more productively.

 

Kirkpatrick: So this whole question of what’s happening with work and how do we train people for the jobs that are coming into existence, not, as we heard from Carl Bass, training them for the manufacturing jobs of a hundred years ago. That’s a key question that we’re wrestling with at this conference and as a nation, and in Detroit. And this next session is going to really tackle that question, what’s happening with what we might call the Internet of employment? How do we get the right tech for the job, so to speak, right tech that can help match jobs and workers?

So I’m going to turn the stage over to Martha Laboissiere, who is a consultant at McKinsey.

Laboissiere: Thank you, and welcome everybody. So I’m just going to briefly introduce our colleagues here with me. Charlene Li is with Altimeter, Wan-Lae Cheng with the Markle Foundation, and Matt Anchin with Monster. And so, as David just mentioned, what we want to talk about is how do we use technology to address this issue of the skills gap? And I think we would all agree that over the last six to eight years, we have made great progress in leveraging technology in closing the skills gap, and several new tech solutions have emerged. But I think we also all recognize that there’s still quite a bit of work to be done, and so I would like to ask our panelists what are your thoughts, or what you are working on that will be the most recent or the next breakthrough in addressing this issue.

Charlene, do you want to kick us off?

Li: Sure. I think one of the things that I’m watching very closely, or two things, first of all, all the digital online learning platforms, in particular, so much capabilities are now in and on mobile devices and they’re no longer sort of the classroom-based videos and hour-long courses, the MOOC classes. It’s really much more like three or four-minute videos, short form, easy to absorb, that are inspiring people to go and dig down deeper and connect with each other a lot more.

And then the second trend that I’m also seeing, more on the corporate side closing that gap, is something around employee advocacy, which is a bit of a surprise to us. And this is when employees themselves are going out and talking about the company, sharing their experiences. And what we found is that 45% of organizations are actively planning an employee advocacy program. And this is a huge change from two years ago, when it was only 18%. There’s been a sea change in terms of organizations being much more open. And I think what that’s going to do is allow more organizations to figure out, these are the types of people that are out there, having their employees talk about the skills that are needed and helping each other connect and be able to be networked.

Cheng: Wonderful. So I think, Martha, to your point, there’s been a lot of things going on. There have been successes and failures in kind of pockets, and I think big trends that are emerging. And from the Markle kind of angle, we’ve always seen ourselves as adding value to the field, as being a catalytic convener, so what we are trying to do is actually bring all of the pieces together and build a new ecosystem that actually transforms a labor market that I think has been largely diploma-based to one that is skills-based and leveraging technology for that. So we’re working with LinkedIn, Arizona State University and edX, as well as the State of Colorado and the City of Phoenix to kind of corral all of these pieces and to kind of leverage and curate the best of what’s already going on and building on top of it.

Laboissiere: Wonderful. Matt?

Anchin: So if you think about Monster, it was the original dot-com that sort of created the online recruiting space. It was the 454th URL, period, ever. So basically, the mission has always been about closing this labor gap. It’s about connecting people and jobs. And 21 years after the founding, 21 years later, the company is still pursuing that, but in ways that really look at harnessing technology in exciting new ways, largely around taking much broader views of the labor market and trying to connect those people and jobs in ways that are a lot more sophisticated than simply posting an ad or answering an ad or creating some infrastructure around a career site. So we’re really about driving forward with new ways to connect people and jobs today using the best of technology that’s available.

Laboissiere: So I hear three different versions of how we can get there, right? I think that the question, and what has always intrigued me, is that there quite an amount of work that is going on. Several different companies do it, there are many foundations engaged. What do you think is missing? What is the missing link to bring this all together? What is the glue that we’re missing here?

Cheng: So we’ve been tackling and kind of working through this question over the last year. So our effort, called Rework America Connected, started earlier this year and we’ve done a set of research to understand I think from a data perspective what’s missing, from a technology perspective what’s missing, and then from an on the ground perspective, what’s the human piece that is absolutely necessary to kind of bring the job seekers, educators, and employers all together?

So I think the missing link on the data side that we’re grappling with is there still isn’t, I think, an open dataset, a granular-specific set of skills and competencies, that is the common denominator or the language that all of these points of the triangle, if you will, are speaking through. So obviously players like Burning Glass, EMSI are doing incredible things in this space, but it’s still not accessible I think to the broad set of stakeholders and actors.

From a kind of capability side, I think there’s still a little bit of movement that still needs to happen on how job seekers can think about creating their professional identity. And so one of things we’ve really been thinking through is what are the types of navigators and coaches that are going to be necessary—what’s scalable, right? Like that’s the piece that’s super expensive and labor intensive, to be able to help onboard the middle-skill individual.

Anchin: In some ways, I think the missing link, to key off that a little bit, is about really how do you make those connections and do it in a way that represents much more the technological and societal changes that we exist in, with social media and with everything that is going on online, and bringing it into that offline space. So if you think about the vast majority of jobs out there, they’re actually unskilled. They’re mainly hourly, and if you’re talking about economic stimulus and making those connections, it’s how do you get to those connections in ways that are remarkably different. One of the things that we’re doing all the time now is we’re looking across all the different places that people’s professional and career-oriented activity take place and trying to bring that all and harness it all in one place—because no one site can do it, of course, no one place can do it—and aggregate that information to really start to drive those connections and almost engineer serendipity, engineer the happy accidents that typically happen, at places for instance like at this conference, where person A and person B meet and the next thing you know they’ve got a job. And we’re trying to do that up and down that labor value chain, because it’s easier, right? For everybody who’s in this room, it’s much easier. And as you go further down, the pieces that contribute to that start to become less tangible.

Laboissiere: Can I actually pick up on that? Because I think that this has been one of the biggest dilemmas I have seen in this whole matching supply and demand and how do people find jobs. It’s tough for everybody who is looking for a job, there’s no question about that. But I think that the overarching view is one that for, as you said, folks in this room, who are tech savvy and are connected, there are many more ways for them to leverage technology, while once you get to more of the middle skills-type job, and to your point, even more the lower skills-type job, there is a huge disconnect, ranging from companies now actually—you know, they post jobs and they say go apply online, but the reality is most people to apply online, they have to go to the public library and wait for a computer to actually get access to it.

So how do you all think about this idea of, yes, making the system work, but making it work for a population that has a smartphone but doesn’t really—maybe they have a smartphone, but doesn’t really have the connectivity that all of us have at home?

Anchin: I think what we’re seeing now, especially with mobile technology, is that the reality is finally catching up with the vision. The penetration of smartphones, which I’m sure you have the numbers at the ready more quickly than I do, but is remarkable. And in fact, the primary Internet device that most of that unskilled into the middle skills that they connect to the Internet with is the mobile device. So the fact that the technology is caught up and now you can make those connections is a great sign. Is it there yet? No. We’re all working very hard to make it happen.

Cheng: To the same point, so over the last six months we’ve been doing a lot of kind of on the ground research to understand this demographic and kind of the needs and their behaviors, right? And so what I was really surprised by is, in some of these focus groups we did in Colorado of the middle skill individuals, so those with high school degrees but no college, they’re constantly job searching. Like the folks in the focus group were saying, you know, when we asked, “Who has an updated resume?” I sort of expected nobody would. Everybody raised their hand. People mentioned that when they have downtime at their job, they’re scrolling through their Indeed app, or they’re scrolling through whatever job search app, because they’re constantly looking for what’s that next role. So I think to your point, it is catching up and there’s the appetite there, which is really exciting, and so now we need to meet that demand.

Li: Yes, our statistics show that the vast majority have the smart devices, but what’s interesting is that between 15 and 25%, their Internet access is only through the mobile device. And so that’s the reality. And yet, when you go and look at any site that’s a corporate site, half of them easily have, if not three-quarters of them, do not work on a mobile device. They’re impossible to navigate. And so you’re really limiting your pool of applicants, especially if you’re going after this middle skill level, to say, well, I think they’re not—they’re absolutely there. And if they’re not there, they’re using their friends devices and they’re sharing devices and they’re pooling them around the entire family.

So for us to think that they’re not on these devices is absolutely the wrong way to think about it. They’re absolutely on there, and they’re definitely connected. And if not, you can go right into many of the major organizations who have online kiosks as well, even to some iPad in the store that you can apply through them.

Laboissiere: Okay. So Wan-Lae, you said something interesting, which was about that they are constantly looking for work. And Charlene, when we spoke, prior to the conference, you had talked about your thinking on how people ought to be joining companies and wanting to stay with them. How do we reconcile, or what is the advice and thinking on how do we move from a constantly switching from jobs to actually building a career and what does it mean for companies?

Li: The way to think about it, they’re not looking for new jobs, they’re looking for new opportunities, and if those opportunities can be within the same company, that’s great. What happens oftentimes is when people come into an organization, they stop becoming a candidate and they become an employee and for some reason you treat them extremely badly then. You woo them and then you have them come in and then you kind of ignore them: “Just do your job, put your head down.” And I think in many ways we’ve got to treat our employees as constantly candidates. We’ve got to treat everybody as a candidate. You’re wooing them every single time over and over again. So you can use technologies externally to recruit and you can also use technologies internally to recruit and to engage. So always be recruiting I think applies to not just the candidates, but I think to the companies as well. Your customers, your partners, your employees, friends, and families are all possible candidates, every single one of them.

Cheng: Yes, and I think we’re talking about such a huge segment of the population, so obviously there are so many sub-slices, and so I think what we’re learning now and trying to figure out is what’s the value proposition at any point in somebody’s stage of life, right? If I’m in school right now and working part-time, I don’t really—I may not want the job that’s going to lead to a career. I just need one that’s going to be flexible with my hours. Versus there are folks who are looking for the next opportunity with a company that they would be willing even to take a pay cut for if they know that that company’s going to invest in them. So I think all of those variables play in and definitely are not kind of conflicting.

Anchin: Yes, you definitely have the dichotomy of people who work to live and live to work. It all depends what the individual needs. What I think is interesting is one of the biggest conversations happening across the recruiting industry, across the people who are really about facilitating getting people into jobs, is thinking about this journey that a candidate is on that Charlene was talking about, and actually looking at it much more through the lens of two things—that are probably very appropriate for Techonomy—is how do you encourage everyone to think, if you’re in a recruiting position, to think much more like a marketer? There’s all these advances across marketing that we are subject to, that we experience day in, day out, and that has not translated yet to the recruiting world in a way that is fully palpable. There’s a lot of principles that we can definitely drive the ball forward. And if you back up one more step, it’s really about technology and it’s about bringing the technology so that your websites are much more dynamic and responsive, so that you can get people to apply easily through a mobile device, which is not always the case. So I think you’ve got a lot going on there, but there’s this drive forward that has to happen, and it’s a transformative moment for the industry that could be really interesting.

Laboissiere: So when we think about this, and when we think about closing the skills gap, I think that there are probably three parts to it, one which I think we have spoken quite extensively, which is the recruiting side and using technology as a marketplace where supply finds demand, so where employers find talent and where talent find employers. But there is a separate piece of this, which is leveraging technology to actually—you know, if you look at what employers are looking for and what a person has, well, there might be a perfect match, but most times there isn’t.

And so I wanted to shift a little bit—and, by the way, I would welcome the audience to ask any questions that you have for the panelists. I wanted to a little bit into, in addition to just this matching platform—because the match is not going to be perfect—how do we think about technology to actually closing whatever gaps there are? And of course there’s a lot around online education and the MOOCs and all of that. But that too has made tons of progress and we’re not quite there yet. So from the training side, what are your thoughts on what we need or what is the most recent latest breakthroughs on this?

Anchin: Well, I mean one thing I’d call to mind is that I think it’s about defining those skills, or really interpreting those skills, right? So there is no perfect, you’re exactly right. There’s no one perfect candidate. There’s lots of candidates who may or may not fit that role. And one of the things that Monster did was create this military skills translator. So when you think about returning veterans and what they do, they have all these skills, they’ve benefited from all this training that, you know, the government has given them by being in the armed forces. How do you take that and figure out how it fits into a much more commercial aspect? So if you’re an employer you may find that you had someone who’s fantastic, as close to perfect as possible, but you might not have ever seen that because you were so stuck in it had to be this keyword or this specific skill when everything is so translatable. And I think it does come down to basically semantics of looking at these things and understanding can these skills actually be pushed into other places. And I think that’s incumbent on the employer side more than anything else, as every individual tries to get smarter and better and learn new skills, or at least figure it out on their own.

Cheng: Building off that, totally agree. I think starting with the employer and being clear about what they’re looking for and the specific skills, I think it needs to be translated in two ways, right? Job seekers need to understand what those skills are, and then where there are gaps, where to go achieve and fill those gaps, which means the educators need to also understand and be designing their programs and be evolving at the speed of business, right? And I think that’s what we’ve heard again and again from educators is that there’s an opaqueness sometimes or there’s just a speed of evolution of their programs that doesn’t necessarily meet how industry is evolving, particularly for some of these sectors like advanced manufacturing and IT.

I think the other big piece of this that we’ve been thinking about is, you know, there’s an array of different types of credentials, certifications, four-year, two-year, and so what is the right program and timeframe for that individual to be able to achieve that next best path. And so how do we make sure that we start as a society kind of treating all of these different pathways with equal respect?

Li: I think one thing in particular in the hiring process, we say you don’t meet the skill requirements, but we don’t necessarily tell them how to fill the gap. So the feedback loop, right? So we love you, you’re a great culture fit, but your skills are like 80%. Well, what do I have to do to fill the other 20%? And we’re so afraid as companies to be able to do that because we might get sued. And so what are the ways we can close that gap so we can give that individual, “If you were to take these four classes, up the skills in these areas, come back and then we may be able to hire you then.” That’s a relationship. That’s an investment in a relationship with someone who’s gone all the way through that process. So instead of saying, “I’m going to be negative and not give you the job,” let’s think about how you would actually develop that person in six months because you’re probably going to have that position open again. In six months let’s have that conversation again. It’s a very different type of conversation than the ones we have today.

Laboissiere: So what does it take to get there, right?  It’s a much more committed relationship between the job seeker and the employer who is looking for this job. And of course there’s the training providers in the middle there somewhere. Charlene, what does it take?

Li: I think, again, we think of this as a technology problem, but everything in my research, in my career has shown that every technology problem has a huge people and human aspect to it too. And so if we can solve some of these people issues, the way that we connect and communicate with each other, with technology so we can scale it. Because it’s such a difficult thing to be able scale feedback, because thousands of candidates for one person. But if you could do this, again, if you could do skills testing, identification, understand the gaps, give people the feedback so when you don’t move them forward you can give that feedback right away, but do this on a repetitive basis and a consistent basis, that’s where technology can really help, but do it in a very human, very personal way. And the only way you can identify—and this is for the entrepreneurs in the audience—what kind of services and products can you build, it’s really to think about that human problem that you’ve got to solve. This is not a technology problem.

Anchin: We’re advocating employers to think about the hiring process as continuous. It’s not about seeking a job or being found. It’s permanent and it’s ongoing, and that really requires that human engagement, right? It’s a human element that technology should be enabling, not solving necessarily. So I think you see it on Twitter today probably most prevalently, where you have, at the middle skills and lower level, a lot of one on one engagement and people talking and more and more of that, “Hey, I have a question, how did you get that job, or how do I get that job?” and then the advice coming in. Because if you go a ladder up to the more hardcore professional networks, the vast majority of people don’t have the skills or the networks to play in that space yet. And ideally they will someday and maybe grow their capabilities, but there’s the vast majority that is just looking for that little bit of advice or that little bit of engagement, and frankly, that makes you a much more attractive employer too. So I mean, in terms of, you know, if you’re sitting there and you’re creating technology and you’re looking for problems to solve, it’s how do make it more engaging, how do we make those connections happen in a way that really will facilitate.

Cheng: I think, Martha, you know, what’s it going to take? I do think we’re still learning that, right? And so I think part of it is, you know, our kind of angle on this is let’s try a couple of different models in Colorado and Phoenix that combines the technology with the human touch. And so whether it’s because we’re partnered with the state, like we’re going to work with workforce centers and understand exactly what they’re doing today and how we can enhance that. There’s a ton of great kind of service providers in Colorado that are doing interesting things with employers. How do we take some of those learnings and scale that? So hopefully stay tuned.

Laboissiere: We’ll stay tuned. But more than that, paint a picture of the future for me. What will Colorado or Phoenix look like in—give me a timeframe. Five years? Three years?

Cheng: Let’s call it, okay, two years.

Laboissiere: Okay, two years.

Cheng: So I think our aspiration is that we are changing the, call it job or career search experience. And so in, call it two years, we will have a Rework America connected platform that really brings together and knits together the cohesive set of tools and experiences that one needs to find a different career path. So part of that is going to be these navigators and coaches, part of that is going to be an extension of the LinkedIn platform that is targeted and customized to bringing the tools and resources that honestly largely has been reserved for the professional population. So how do you help this segment of the population build a career, build a network? And then I think the big piece underlying all of this too is that we’ve got kind of the public sector players that are sponsoring this and advocating for this as well.

Laboissiere: Great. Charlene, I wanted to go back to something that you raised around the entrepreneurs in the room. So what is your request for the entrepreneurs who want to work on this skills mapping issue, what is the one idea you would give them?

Li: I think really going after the biggest pain points. Because I see sometimes people are going out there like, “Oh, maybe I’ll just do this little tweak on something that Monster’s doing or something that LinkedIn is doing.” If you truly understand your target audience, truly walk in their shoes, and understand what those key needs are, the more focused you can be on those particular needs. Because oftentimes entrepreneurs, especially in tech space, might do it at the very beginning and then get buried into the tech and they’ll focus on the tech and when they come and explain it back to me as pitches, or even see it from investors, they’re talking about the tech and, again, not about the pain points that they’re trying to solve. The minute you lose sight of what that problem that you are trying to solve and lose sight of that customer, lose sight of the candidate pain points, you will not succeed. I’ve never seen it work where it’s been focused on the technology and not the problem.

Laboissiere: Great. I have more questions for them, but I just wanted to—we have about 10 minutes, so I just wanted to check if there were any questions from the audience to the panelists? Yes, I see one hand here.

Doyle: Hi, I’m Orlando Doyle, founder of Impact Seminars. On the jobs situation, could you go back further, earlier in the pipeline to how do you entice and educate children beginning in middle school and high school about the enormous possibilities in the technology field? Are any of you addressing that in any way and any suggestions on that?

Cheng: So we are not directly addressing that in kind of the K–12 system, although a lot of our partners are, and partly because you just have to bite off something and to tackle the full pipeline to start out with would be a lot. So I think in both Colorado and Phoenix, very much the recognition and awareness is it needs to start, some say by fifth grade or sixth grade to be able to not only influence the students but the parents of what is advanced manufacturing and why are there great careers there. We heard great vignettes with a room of parents saying, “How many of you want your kids in advanced manufacturing?” No hands. “How many of you guys want somebody in aerospace and defense?” Everybody. Same thing, right? Like there’s so much overlap. And so I think a lot our partners are getting embedded into the public school system, are thinking about how to, for lack of a better term, sexify some of these industries and make it interesting and also make it worthwhile, understanding how these career paths are worthwhile. So agree with you, but we’re not directly tackling it head on.

Li: This is a key issue of research for me, personally, being a woman of minority in tech, and in business too as well, there are so few role models. And so I think a lot of the stories that Matt and I were talking about, for organizations to put the story out there, to put the narrative—you’re going to hear about narratives at the end of the day. If you want to promote change then you really have to have a narrative that people can see themselves fitting into. And so the narrative that middle school students and high school students, when they see tech, is a white young guy that dropped out of college versus somebody who looks like them. And so if there are people who look like them who can come—and the reason why technology can help, it’s not a one on one person into a classroom. It’s video, it’s on the ground, “This is what I do.” And I think for the women scientists who this past summer, because “I am a woman scientist,” that whole hashtag and meme to say, “This is what we do, this is what we look like,” and to encourage us to speak up. And more importantly, how we look at leadership inside these organizations—it’s one thing to get them in, but the rate of promotion of women of minorities into leadership positions once they’ve even got into tech companies is abysmal.

Anchin: I mean, there’s so much that needs to be done. We’re doing it in small ways with some programs around girls who code and bringing in people to our headquarters building, groups of high school students, female high school students, to show them all the possibilities. And you can see it’s this very small personal way to get at it and an individual way to get at it. There’s definitely a lot of opportunity and desire and need. And I think it’s not just limited to stem jobs. It’s going to be all sorts of occupations. That just happens to be the one that everyone is focused on now because there’s such this overwhelming demand for those skills in the market, but who’s to say ten years from now there won’t be alternative ones as well.

Laboissiere: There’s a question, I think.

McBrien: Hi, Mike McBrien, I work for SalesForce, but I also sit on the board of an inner city school here in Detroit called Loyola. And a couple of big issues we have—one of you brought it up, which I thought was great. We see vocations as another area for our young men to get involved in, and there’s not a lot of programs around vocations, around electrical, around plumbing, and there’s so much building and great things going on in Detroit right now and there’s such a need for that type of talent. We have a lot of foundations working with us. A lot of times it’s how many kids can you get to college, which is a great goal, but where do you guys see vocations as far as careers for young men and women, especially in inner cities, as a positive place to go and what type of programs do you see around that?

Cheng: So I think absolutely, they’re great careers, and I think part of it is I do think there is a little bit of a mindset shift that’s happening on vocation not being not as good as a career, right? And so it’s not just a language thing. It is a cultural shift and how people think about different paths. So part of what we are trying to do—so we’re building a ground team in both of our locations, partly to build out this awareness. And to be really tactical about it, there’s a little bit of a marketing campaign. So it’s a marketing campaign about these career paths being good career paths and being just kind of equal, as well as the education options that go along with it. And so one of the things that we’re asking of our employer partners is to highlight what education partners and programs do you see as really producing qualified applicants and how can we make that data transparent to the individuals or their parents so that they can say, okay, if somebody wants this type of job at this company, which we know is a great company, this is actually an education program that seems to be producing a lot of great alumni.

So there’s a lot of pieces I think that need to come together to achieve kind of the vision that you’re driving towards. And the hope is that if we can prove it out in some of these smaller ecosystems, we can take that model and kind of just share the learnings.

Li: So here’s an opportunity for entrepreneurs out there. I think for you to create a plumbers network—and this is not so much about them just sort of finding jobs and gigs. This is not a matching. This is really, truly a professional network and people who take pride in their work. Because what you see with vocational, people who are in this skills craft, they take pride in solving these really nutty problems. And for them to share that knowledge, and especially through the younger people coming up, through Snapchat, through Instagram, through Vine, being able to take these small things that they’re already using in the field, and they all have, in many cases, the smartphones because that’s how they connect with their customers. So they’re already equipped to be able to do these kinds of things but they don’t have the platform to be able to do that sharing, and that’s what these vocational people really need. They need to share the latest products that are out there, the latest problems, and the knowledge that comes with being part of that skill force, to up their skills.

Laboissiere: Okay. We have one more question here and then we’re going to close. Yes?

Moe: Moe from 242 Solutions [ph 0:32:41.0]. So there’s an interesting thing that was brought up about the human problem, and as an entrepreneur and an employer, I think personally that’s something that I’m guilty of overlooking a lot, you know, being a little bit more helpful to job seekers and trying to suggest ways of basically learning or going through programs that can bring them up to speed to be fit for the job. I think the challenge is that, you know, first of all, there’s a time challenge, so when resources are limited it’s really—it’s almost difficult to be helpful for all the sort of job seekers that are not quite there yet. You know, you can’t take every single person aside and say, “You know, you might want to do this, you might want to do that.” But like from the entrepreneur’s perspective it seems to be less of a human problem—and this might just be my naivety or something, but less of a human problem and more of just there are certain skillsets I think that haven’t necessarily reached that sort of breaking point where they are spreading at the rate that sort of the workforce demand, that this sort of industrial demand needs them to be growing at. And as a result just more people need to be trained in that and it’s not just a matter of, you know, being helpful necessarily from the employer’s perspective more but other organizations, such as some of the ones that you guys are a part of, I think playing sort of a community role and sort of evangelizing what needs to be done. Because I think the entrepreneurs sometimes are just limited in what exactly they can do and time is limited, resources are limited, and other things like that. As much as we want to address the human problem more, I think there’s just a lot of—you know, it’s just difficult, I think. So I think we’re looking for—I’d be interested in thoughts on like relationships that employers can look to make with external organizations that perhaps have the time, resources, strategy, ideas to be able to address some of these problems.

Li: Well, I don’t know the exact—again, I’m not familiar with individual groups and things here, but I would say, as an entrepreneur myself, the amount of time, I totally empathize with that. But the one thing I have learned is that unless you put the time in and ask those groups to very specifically change the way they are even supporting and educating and finding the skill gaps—because oftentimes what they’re saying out there, because they’re looking at jobs, resumes. They’re inundated as well. So I say what you put in is what you get out of this and the more that you can invest that time, even if it’s just to set the guidelines, it’s absolutely an investment and it pays off, because you get the reputation for—if you’re going to apply it, you’re going to get higher quality candidates just through that system because they see that you’ll get the investments.

Cheng: I think it’s a great question that we’ve been running into, not just with entrepreneurs, more small, medium sized businesses, right? It’s the same kind of bandwidth issues. And so we are looking for kind of those service providers and organizations. So for example, in Colorado there’s a great organization called WorkLife Partnership and they have mentors that they put at employers to do that sort of guidance and kind of case management. So there’s a lot of these types of organizations and I think though the question mark is they’re all operating sort of differently, right? And that could be good, that could be bad, but like is there a common kind of framework or set of capabilities and tools that we can equip all of these organizations so they’re working more cohesively.

And then I think there is a play for technology, and so we’ve been exploring some of these kind of virtual advising tools or mentorship type of things, as I’m sure Monster has been thinking about that as well. And so, you know, I think that has a role in it too, but happy to talk about kind of what we found more.

Laboissiere: Well, thank you. We are running over time so I have just one quick question for each one of the panelists, and I’ll start with Matt. What is the skill that is hardest to translate or describe?

Anchin: Critical thinking.

Laboissiere: Wan-Lae, what is the one skill you wish you would add to your LinkedIn profile?

Cheng: So I guess just given kind of sort of what I’ve described what we’re doing, I would love to be able to be a dealmaker and negotiator, right? We’re building relationships and we’ve got to bring a lot of people together.

Laboissiere: Thank you. Charlene, what is the new or upcoming social media site/app that everyone who’s a job seeker should absolutely join?

Li: I think at a base level you have to have a LinkedIn profile. It is table stakes now when middle school students and high school students are being asked to create their own profiles. But I think that’s just the starting point. It’s wherever your community is and it will change day to day to day. So in many ways I think the best thing you can have is really good skills in being able to search and find that community and then have the fortitude to actually stick with it and develop those relationships, because in the end it’s all about relationships.

Laboissiere: Wonderful. Please join me in thanking our panelists.

[APPLAUSE]

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