The “Chicken or Egg” Debate Among HR Leaders: Credentials or Potential When Hiring?

The “Chicken or Egg” Debate Among HR Leaders: Credentials or Potential When Hiring?

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Last spring, Learning House and Future Workplace surveyed 600 human resource leaders about the nationwide skills gap crisis, the state of hiring processes, and the difficulties of identifying qualified candidates. As job openings in the U.S. continue to rise, nearly half of the HR leaders questioned blame higher education for the skills gap. Approximately 47 percent of leaders surveyed state that colleges are not properly preparing students for the working world. The survey also reveals that 35 percent of employers feel it is the responsibility of colleges and universities to make potential employees “work-ready”.

However, higher education leaders believe they are taking the necessary steps to prepare students for a workplace that is constantly changing. With 85 percent of jobs that today’s students will perform in 2030 not even in existence yet, educational institutions are making strides to adapt programs that will address the disconnect between what students learn, and what students actually do in the workforce.

So as employers work to close the talent gap, and educators adjust programs, this brings to light a critical dilemma for hiring managers. No different than the age-old “chicken or egg” mystery, which should take precedent when hiring a candidate — their hard skills/degree/technical certifications (credentials), or their soft skills/ability to train (potential)?

Difficulties of Hiring for Credentials/Hard Skills

According to the survey, technology and IT jobs are the hardest to fill, followed by management jobs. These positions correspond to what employers believe are the in-demand college majors — computer information systems, finance, and economics. Again, this also reinforces the importance employers are placing on educational institutions to prepare the future job market.

Difficulties of Hiring for Potential/Soft Skills

The survey also identified the top three soft skills sought out by employers: teamwork (38 percent), the ability to adapt to change (37 percent), and leadership (37 percent).

However, the survey also highlights many challenges that exist to address the soft skills gap. Budget shortfalls and a lack of both external and internal talent being available to train employees top this surmounting list of setbacks. But, as a result, employers are becoming more open to innovative ways to address their skills gap.

Alternative Methods to Address Hiring for Both Credentials and Potential 

Discovering creative ways to address the skills gap has become a top priority among hiring managers. Employers are beginning to seriously consider hiring candidates without traditional four-year degrees based on the survey results — which may allow job seekers to search for alternative credentialing.

Registered apprenticeships offer an alternate model. While not always thought of in the U.S. as a natural option, registered apprenticeship programs can offer employers numerous benefits, such as structured training, streamlined recruitment practices, increased loyalty and retention, and enhanced performance. 

At Franklin Apprenticeships, we help employers build their workforce, so companies can focus on growing their business. We have the tools, technology, and network necessary to build, execute, and manage modern apprenticeship programs that fit specific organizational requirements. 

Employers will need to continue thinking outside the box today to train and retain the workforce of tomorrow. No different than the “chicken or egg” debate, the “credentials or potential” discussion remains as a top topic of interest among HR leaders.

Fortunately, employers now have more options to think outside the box, and influence the direction of this ongoing conversation.

Are you an employer hiring for IT Helpdesk and/or Network Engineer positions? Narrow your skills gap, fill your talent pipeline, and obtain assistance with company-specific training by partnering with Franklin Apprenticeships. Contact us today to learn more about our current digital apprenticeship programs: Franklin Digital and Missouri Digital.


7 Problems Apprenticeships Solve That Traditional Education Doesn’t

7 Problems Apprenticeships Solve That Traditional Education Doesn’t

Re-imagined Programs Create Win-Win Opportunities for Everyone. 

At the recent Celebration of Apprenticeships Conference in London, Franklin Apprenticeships co-founder Tom Bewick chaired a panel discussion about American Apprenticeship expansion. Bewick, a source of knowledge for UK apprenticeship training providers, led a vibrant discussion about the burgeoning commercial opportunities in the United States, where a major apprenticeship expansion effort is currently underway. 

Expert panel discussion focused on the various opportunities for British companies to bring their highly successful apprenticeship programs to the US. These include:

  1. Filling the critical skills gap in high growth industries such as IT, Financial Services and Advanced Manufacturing
  2. Advancing US STEM initiatives with a wider range of non-traditional apprenticeships. Currently in the US, apprenticeships are dominated by military and traditional trades. UK companies can introduce US companies to apprenticeship programs in such industries as creative arts, healthcare, IT, media, professional services, and digital office.
  3. Adding diversity in the apprentice pool and the workforce – Program expansion into non-traditional apprenticeship sectors invites participation by more women and minorities.
  4. Bettering job prestige at the entry level – especially in the high tech and health care industries.
  5. Improving ROI for corporate job training programs.
  6. Creating standards for employees and employers with qualifications and skills assessments.
  7. Adjusting training budgets make apprenticeship programs affordable for smaller companies, and scalable for larger companies.

So what’s missing? Why haven’t more US companies adopted the apprenticeship model? While companies see apprenticeships as a solution, they typically don’t know how to get started. That’s where there is tremendous opportunity to take content from the UK and other international programs and configure it for US companies. Fast tracking programs and streamlining support can help to speed US adoption.

For more insight about apprenticeship programs in the US, please contact Kim Nichols, CEO, Franklin Apprenticeships.

Watch the full panel discussion here:

Bridging the Gap Between Community College Grads and Employers

Bridging the Gap Between Community College Grads and Employers

Apprenticeship Programs Provide Critical Training And Resources For Both Students And Employers.

Surveys and studies concur: The skills gap between what college grads offer employers and what grads actually need to succeed in their new careers is very real.

The American Association of Community Colleges issued a report in 2012, Reclaiming the American Dream: Community Colleges and the Nation’s Future, citing sobering data about dramatic declines in median family income, educational attainment and economic mobility.

The report warns that “the American Dream is at risk” and recommends sweeping changes in the ways community colleges prepare students for success.

Among the report’s many recommendations for redesigning the student learning experience is to “close the American skills gaps by sharply focusing career and technical education on preparing students with the knowledge and skills required for existing and future jobs in regional and global economies.”

Apprenticeship programs offer community colleges the opportunity to enhance and integrate classroom learning with real-time job training. Successful programs, such as those adopted in the U.K., have increased student success rates, and prepared students with relevant occupational skills. Employers report dramatic economic gains, efficiency improvements, morale boosts, and a host of other company success factors.

But while community college leaders understand the benefits of stimulating major apprenticeship training expansions, that’s only half of the equation. The ability to execute and build a sustainable apprenticeship model on the employer side remains a huge challenge.

Let’s face it. Most employers are not experts at shaping training programs – nor do they want to be. That’s why many have chosen to outsource and take advantage of model apprenticeship programs, so popular in the UK and around the world.

In the UK, training provider intermediaries have played a pivotal role in apprenticeship growth over the past then years. Training provider intermediaries directly support employers by delivering the training, assessing and tracking apprentice progress, managing regulatory requirements and recruiting apprentices. This is the role community colleges can play in the US which will help drive adoption of apprenticeship programs by employers.

Apprenticeships present a great business opportunity for community colleges to grow revenue, increase relevance to employers, and provide a closer connection to the communities they serve. Expanding apprenticeships can mean far more workers are prepared for rewarding careers by ensuring that students have the right skills employers need – and bridging that gap.

As George Boggs, President and CEO Emeritus at AACC, professor of leadership, and higher education consultant, attests: “Partnerships with businesses have the potential to become an institution-transforming catalyst in community colleges.”

Contact Franklin Apprenticeships and learn how your organization can join the U.S. apprenticeship movement that’s sweeping the U.K.

Defining the Need for Expanding Apprenticeship Programs in the U.S. [Infographic]

Defining the Need for Expanding Apprenticeship Programs in the U.S. [Infographic]

By 2020, America is projected to experience a shortfall of about 8 million workers, according to The Center for American Progress. Apprenticeship programs offer a solution for both businesses and potential employees to address this national concern. Download the Infographic below to learn more about the growing need for apprenticeships in the U.S., and the benefits of program creation and implementation for employers, educators, and workforce development agencies.


The U.S. will experience a significant shortage of skilled workers within the next decade. Yet, our economy has a growing need for candidates with technical competencies.

Additionally, a growing number of young adults require access to alternative methods of formal education and training – Millennials are leaving college unprepared for the job market, with surmounting debt, and limited employment opportunities.

How can employers, educators, and workforce development agencies unite to address this national concern?

Apprenticeships offer a realistic, high-value solution to help restore U.S. competitiveness, and create a path to endless possibilities for young adults to succeed in their careers and lives.

As reinforced by the U.S. Department of Labor, apprenticeships are beneficial to workers –candidates who complete programs earn $300,000 more over a lifetime than their peers who do not. Furthermore, apprenticeships create a competitive advantage for businesses as they:

  • Improve productivity and the bottom line
  • Reduce turnover and increase retention
  • Provide opportunities for tax credits and employee tuition benefits in certain states

Apprenticeship programs also create industry-driven, flexible training solutions to develop a highly skilled workforce that meets national and local needs. For example, President Obama has made expanding apprenticeships a priority, investing an unprecedented $175 million in the American Apprenticeship Initiative Grants in 2015. This investment represents the largest infusion of public funds ever invested in American Apprenticeships, with an additional $90 million due for investment in 2016.

The President has also set a goal to double the number of apprentices to 750,000 by 2020 to help address this national concern. But, are you prepared to participate in program expansion, and benefit from an apprenticeship program?

Whether you are an employer looking to design the right program, a workforce development agency trying to build a pipeline of skilled workers, or an educator shaping an apprentice delivery strategy, we’re here to work with you.   Contact Franklin Apprenticeships to learn more about the power of high quality, registered apprenticeship programs.