Curriculum vs Talent

What do the companies look for in order to hire?



Ms. Jane Murphy
Staffing Programs Manager, Google’s EMEA.


Ms. Alice Kooij
Employment and International Youth Policy Officer. Ambrassade/Flemish Youth Council.


Ms. Laura López-Bech
Education Policy Officer in European Youth Forum AISBL.


Ms. Marisol Pastor Nervión
Manager of the technical cabinet of the Foundation Universidad Empresa.


Guideline questions of the panel


  1. What suggests that the academic failure of Spain is 23% and of Finland only 8%?
  2. Is the problem because of the education spending or the educational model?
  3. What differences are between the effort culture and the sacrifice culture?
  4. Are the young people able to recover the capacities that weren’t stimulated during the childhood?
  5. How is establish the relationship between the competences that the companies require and the competences that the young people acquire in their training period?
  6. Do the companies look for talent or curriculum?
  7. Are the people with better grades the one that are successful in their companies?
  8. Which are the keys for professional success: knowledge or aptitudes?
  9. How do companies measure the talent?
  10. Are geeks the talents of the innovative companies like Google?
  11. What is the difference among a geek, a young offender and a young in risk of exclusion?



Young people are one of the groups that are most suffering from the crisis, with a high unemployment rate, which is one of the major risk factors for falling into social exclusion. Moreover, there are high rates of school failure, making it difficult for these young people the opportunity to gain employment, thereby aggravating the risk of social exclusion.


Youth unemployment data: average of the euro area is 22.3%, and the 28 countries of the European Union, 20.7%, ranging from 7.2% in Germany, and 10.1 % and Austria and Denmark, 50.1% in Greece, 49.6% in Spain, and 40.9% in Italy.

Academic failure data: 12% of Community average, ranging from 23% in Spain, 13% in France, 5.7% in Sweden


Therefore there are several situations to consider: firstly, despite having many youngsters that have training, they have great difficulty in accessing the labour market, and moreover, there is a significant group of young people who are “expelled from educational system” with low qualifications, and that happen to be “at the end of the queue to access the labour market”.


There is a clear relationship between educational systems (how we train and prepare young people), and the labour market (how they have access to employment and companies seeking), and the dysfunctions between both are the ones that generate this situation:


  1. We train young people regardless of labour market needs, not only in terms of knowledge but also skills and abilities (the problem may become structural, as many of these skills should be acquired in childhood: capacity to communicate, analyze problems, engage, empathize, social skills, and others).
  2. When educational systems do not seek to develop the capabilities that we have and each one aspires to fulfil programs regardless individuality, many children and young people get “excluded” from the system


The societies with the most standardized educational systems are less dynamic, generated less employment, and more social exclusion.



Finland is a study model and has a high success rate. Some of the keys to its success are:


  1. The high academic qualifications of teachers, and the unusual fact that the best teachers are placed in the first years of teaching in primary To be a teacher you need to have a very highly rated evaluation, this system works also in high school and college. Education is a profession with prestige and teachers have great authority in school and in society. The equivalent of Teaching in Finland is a difficult, demanding and long qualification, which also includes personal interviews, so that teachers are well prepared professional and vocational
  2. Education is customized: Since the first courses we intervene to support students with special needs, so as to prevent their difficulties increase with age and the percentage of school failure are The pace of learning of each child is respected and flees tests and activities
  3. Curiosity and participation is rewarded: The imagination and entrepreneurial capacity are prized in Finnish society, there are many artistic and creative professionals and also in the fields of technology and engineering. This is also encouraged in education, where creativity is valued, experimentation and collaboration over memorization and lectures
  4. They have a very comprehensive strategy in education, including equal importance for humanities, reading, physical education, arts, and mathematics, “that each develops their potential in what they are best” and also the standardized tests are of little


Skills most valued by the market


While education systems prioritise the “tight knowledge” of some materials, the market demands other skills and competencies. This situation is exacerbated in the case of young people at risk of exclusion or belonging to disadvantaged groups, where the system does not give them basic training or skills that the market demands. Among them we can mention: Languages, computers, teamwork, flexibility and adaptation, creativity, public speaking, managing relationships, be an entrepreneur, among others, causing an even greater gap for these young people, the educational system does not work these skills with them, neither their families.


There is a clear disconnect between skills demanded and the skills acquired by the youngsters, both in their official training route, as when in a situation of unemployment and continue to form unrealistic demands of the market.


Talent versus Intelligence


Another issue to consider is the still prevailing paradigm in relation to the “intelligence”. Measurement model based on standardized, from a set of values that marginalizes all other than “average normal” test, sets an impractical weighting in the workplace. The test coefficients underpin the idea that intelligence is an innate factor in humans, and uses a limited number of parameters to measure human abilities.


Many of today’s educational systems are structured to respond to needs of the era of industrialization, pursued consideration of a limited set of skills to meet demand, and not in the new needs of both individuals and companies that hire them.


If we change the paradigm of an innate and limited intelligence, to the search for talent, young people in risk of exclusion have more opportunities.

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