August 24, 2023

Is remote work stifling our skill development?


Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

I’m still Team Remote, don’t @ me.

My colleague Jin Bacheller saw a trend in investment banking and technical accounting hiring:

👉Pass/fail rates on technical assessment are going down.

Financial modeling and advanced Excel skills. The types of skills you need to be proficient in to do the job. Stuff you can’t BS your way though in interviews.

He has several contacts seeing this. What used to be 1 in 3 pass rates are trending towards 1 in 5. The tests haven’t changed. People aren’t doing as well.

There’s some nuance here. These are skill sets that are associated with old school, work 80 hour days and grind type jobs. Which diminished greatly during the pandemic and remote work boom.

By no means am I saying working 80 hours a week is something anyone should do. But people in these industries are adults who make their own decisions. Those who grinded through that part of their career did it by their own free will.

Is lack of at-bats the reason why scores are failing? It’s our hypothesis, based on admittedly anecdotal evidence.

Then I came across this article in the Wall Street Journal: ‘‘How Do I Do That?’ The New Hires of 2023 Are Unprepared for Work.

The highlights (if you’re stuck behind the paywall):

  • ”Among the approximately 40,000 candidates taking the Fundamentals of Engineering exam for work as professional engineers, scores fell by about 10% during the pandemic.”
  • ”Students taking entrance exams to study nursing are scoring an average of about 5 percentage points lower than before the pandemic, limiting the number of students eligible to enroll in nursing programs.”
  • ”On the Criteria Basic Skills Test: Verbal scores for men under 25 declined by 11 percentage points over the three years of the pandemic.”

I’m still a pro-remote homer. Self-motivated people get more done when they’re not at the Distraction Factory.

But we need to admit there’s a lot of people who aren’t learning as much, for one reason or another.

Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

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