Written by Sophie Hodgson

Yesterday a friend forwarded on the job spec for role she was thinking of applying for. Great company right at the heart of the start up revolution. The role looks fab. Until I get to the last point about how candidates wishing to apply needs, ‘great marks from a top university.’

This irks me on three levels. My dad grew up as one of 13, the last exam he took was his 11 plus before he went down the pit by the time he was 12. And yet he managed to be a fireman, policeman, sales man and ultimately head up a multi-million pound company.

Secondly, having studied PR at uni and doing it as my career you might think that I would have applied some of this learning during the last 15 years. But the truth is, theory has been very different to practice.

Lastly, this requirement seems so dated and staggeringly short sighted. We are on the cusp of one of the biggest employment crises that is arguably more profound and complex than the 2008 crash. Technology has disrupted the job market. It will continue to do so. In the process hundreds of thousands of people will be displaced. Companies will have to retrain and reskill staff for a world where AI does much of the heavy lifting. Throw into that the talent crunch the UK faces and it seems bizarre to me that companies still place such emphasis on uni marks.

In the world tech is forging, we need creative thinkers, dreamers and visionaries. You might be all these things with ‘great marks from a top university’ but equally you might possess all these attributes and have never stepped onto a university campus.

After all, it worked out OK for Richard Branson.

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