Willingness to learn is number one skill when hiring says IBM chief

Skills are becoming outdated quickly so new hires need to show propensity to learn instead says tech giant’s boss.
By: | September 25, 2019

IBM chairman, president and CEO Ginni Rometty is a huge fan of upskilling her employees, all 350,000 of them. And she has moved skills to the centre of her people plan.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, she talked about what she looks for when recruiting. ‘’The number one thing we hire for is now is propensity to learn. It doesn’t matter about age. If you think about tech, the half life of a skill is less than five years. If I hire you with a skill today, it’s not going to matter in a very short period of time. I want you to be curious and want to learn’’.

IBM has invested heavily in training and education, and Rometty says 8 out of 10 employees are equipped with the skills needed for the future. ‘’It starts with telling people – be transparent. Will your skill be in demand in the future? Is it abundant or scarce?’’

Her secret is to make learning easy and consumable. ‘’You’ve got to make career and education as easy as your Netflix. Our learning platform is not Netflix but it looks like it. It knows who you are, your role and we’ve got 50,000 people a day taking education in that way.’’