Imperfection the key to Perfection – by Tariq Siraj


I read all the time about the gap between the skills that businesses need and the availability of those skills coming through from the outside world. More importantly, as a headhunter, I also see it playing out day after day.

This morning on my train I read a really interesting opinion piece on this by Nick Russell – a Director at engineering firm Thomasons:

We constantly discuss with our clients about the need to be open minded as to where their required skillset might come from, and I firmly believe in the ability (and willingness) to search beyond the bullet points on a job description as being a core skill for any good recruiter.

We know full well that companies rarely (or ever?) hire people who perfectly fit a job description – there is a more intangible element to people than what is on a piece of paper. While the merits of the old-fashioned CV is a conversation for another day, this article addresses the broader picture very nicely;

There are too many pre-existing and outdated ideas about the background you must have to enter certain industries or degree courses. Engineering degrees ‘need’ Maths and Physics A-levels, International Development hiring ‘needs’ Politics or Economics degrees, Banks ‘need’ Economics or Business degrees…you get the idea.

As an example, by looking at Maths and Physics students almost exclusively for Engineering courses, Universities are considering a talent pool around 95% smaller than they could be and certainly missing out on some great future engineers.

It’s far better than it used to be, but these are deep-rooted mental and cultural barriers which take a long time to overcome.

In the article he asks: “Where does the blame for this lie? Within the education system, with businesses, or with the students themselves? The answer is, sadly, all of the above”

“Perceptions need to change” and perhaps the collaboration between the commercial world and the education system needs to run deeper and work far better.

As our society becomes ever more automated and digitised, society needs to reskill, and businesses need to hire and develop people outside the boundaries they’ve set themselves. Rather than narrow, it’s crucial that the scope needs to expand.

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