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Skills are the Currency of the Future, Learning is the only Key for the Future.


Written by Stella H. Kim

Published January 19, 2023


Stella Kim, Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President at HRCap

Should we pursue a career we are passionate about, or one we can best excel at? Should we hire a candidate who demonstrates high work ethics, or one who has the best expertise? These questions have become one of the deepest concerns and hottest issues for both job seekers and companies in the current job market.


These are indeed difficult questions, but the answer is quite simple. We must carefully look for a career where we are self-motivated to consistently learn, and must hire talent capable of proactively upskilling to be market-competitive. The key is learning agility – one’s attitude and ability to adapt well to new situations and steadily learn in a constantly changing environment.


Let’s say we have two candidates that applied for a job. One has a proven history of doing the job well and continuously learns new skills to become a greater subject expert. Another has incredibly high work ethics and consistently makes an effort to strengthen all weaknesses. Which candidate is stronger? Neither. We must hire both, since they both have high learning agility.


The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated change across the world. Companies that accepted change and nimbly responded went beyond just survival mode to experience exponential growth. Over the past three years, companies worldwide have struggled to attract and retain top talent. However, we must now be even more forward-looking and futureproof all talent investment strategies. We need to carefully screen for both existing skills and learning agility, then hire swiftly and develop steadily. Recruitment cannot be viewed simply as a means of hiring talent but rather as a management strategy to invest in critical skills. Companies need to address closing the current and future skills gap through proactive diagnosis of organizational capabilities and continuous investments in critical skills.


In 2015, I served as a Global Workforce Specialist and People Analytics Subject Expert at IBM’s Professional Development Center of Excellence (CoE). Our team had launched the Skills Value Framework and pioneered the philosophy of “Skills as a new Currency.” We predicted future market trends to identify both necessary (hot growth) and unnecessary (declining) skills. We established competitive compensation and retention plans to prevent loss of our most scarce hot skills, and focused on upgrading our workforce by reskilling the saturated declining skills to be more market-competitive. Even the world’s largest company, IBM, prioritized learning to ready the workforce and lead the market.


Even in 2023, skills are the currency of the future and the greatest asset. As such, I can attest that skills investment brings the highest ROI (Return on Investment) than any other currency investment. 60% of Learning and Development professionals saw “upskilling and reskilling” as their top priority in 2022 (LinkedIn). In 2021, 66% of professionals firmly believed they needed to steadily learn new skills to increase their market value and stay employable (World Economic Forum). The bottom line is that organizations and employees are both prioritizing learning.


At HRCap, a Global Executive Search & HR Consulting Firm, we have also invested in skills and expanded our business models in response to the dynamic market changes. Our service portfolio not only focuses on delivering the highest quality recruitment services, but also includes market entry strategies, organizational restructuring, skills training, and leadership development programs to best futureproof our clientele’s business organization as their trusted HR Partner. Glamorous resumes with credentials from top schools and big named companies are no longer enough. We must all strengthen our learning agilities and be committed to continuous learning and development, since ability (능, 能) is now more valuable than power (력, 力). Skills are the currency of the future, and the future is already here.



Stella H. Kim

HRCap - Chief Marketing Officer & Global VP



Source: HRCap, The Korea Daily, JoongAng Ilbo




Adapted into HRCap Instatoons





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