Skip to main content

The future of the workforce can be amazing if we make this one change 

  1. Future of Work

The future of the workforce can be amazing if we make this one change

When hirers focus on aptitudes and skills, a flood of untapped workers will be unleashed. 

How Do We Improve The Future of The Workforce?

In 2023, America’s workforce stands at a fork in the road.

Employers struggle to find skilled talent as open positions crucial to our society go unfilled. Our current postsecondary education system often hobbles students with massive debt and places them on career paths that didn’t require a degree in the first place. Still, many workers are shut out of jobs because they lack degrees or cannot access the education needed to meet their full potential.

So where do we go from here? Stick with the status quo or find a better way?

The answer is clear. We need to create more education pathways that better serve all learners and embrace a bottom-up approach that considers each person’s unique gifts. This would allow people to discover their talents in a way that contributes to our economy and would create a skilled workforce that excites hirers.

To do this, employers must empower themselves to shed outdated norms that rely on degrees and years of “relevant experience” and instead focus hiring practices on aptitudes and skills. This would propel careers and industries forward because more people would be allowed to contribute in a way that benefits themselves, employers, and the economy. Some companies are already charting this path by investing in their employees and dropping degree requirements, but challenges and opportunities remain.





Explore additional insights from Opportunity@Work’s The Paper Ceiling and Spotlight on STARs in the Workplace.



Curious for more research? Find data from postsecondary education and career and technical education surveys led by SkillUp and Charles Koch Foundation.



More findings are available from SHRM’s Making Skilled Credentials Work: A New Strategy for HR Professionals.


Opportunity@Work, SkillUp, and Society for Human Resource Management are partners of the Charles Koch Foundation. The Charles Koch Foundation is part of the Stand Together philanthropic community.

Learn more about Stand Together’s efforts to transform the future of work, and explore ways you can partner with us.


This article originally appeared on Forbes BrandVoice.

Stay up to date

Sign up for Stand Together's Rethinking Work & Learning newsletter to get the latest stories, ideas, and trends on the future of employment.

What's next Three people sit together collaborating with notebooks. How did the Golden State Warriors win 4 titles? They prioritized this.

Companies and employees benefit when there’s robust job mobility that focuses on employees’ aptitudes, not credentials.

A man climbs up a ladder Fulfillment or a higher salary? This group says both are possible.

Many Americans are stuck in a cycle of low-wage work. Merit America is offering a ladder up.

People working together. Skills-based hiring works, but hiring based on skills and strengths is even better

Factoring strengths and aptitudes into hiring decisions is a win-win for employees and businesses.

Todd Rose and Mike Rowe pictured together Is college necessary for success? Todd Rose and Mike Rowe discuss

Our education system is at a crossroads. Why rethinking college could be the answer.  

© 2024 Stand Together. All rights reserved. Stand Together and the Stand Together logo are trademarks and service marks of Stand Together. Terms like “we,” “our,” and “us,” as well as “Stand Together,” and “the Stand Together community,” are used here for the sake of convenience. While the individuals and organizations to which those terms may refer share and work toward a common vision—including, but not limited to, Stand Together Foundation, Stand Together, Charles Koch Foundation, Stand Together Trust, Stand Together Fellowships, and Americans for Prosperity—each engages only in those activities that are consistent with its nonprofit status.
Jump back to top