Sourcing & Education Disruption

Google U upsetting the Sourcing Crew

Chewing the Fat

When Google announced its plans to disrupt the higher education industry we witnessed the start of traditional higher education’s unraveling. The tertiary sector has either been inaccessible due to high fees and low acceptance rates within the top echelons of institutions, or it has been with institutions that lack the brand power (or as Scott Galloway put’s it “luxury appeal”) to open employment opportunities with employers. Google’s ambitions into the industry create a double positive, the biggest upside I see is the opportunity to shape the way organisations value talent. The most renowned employer in Google recruits talent based on its own certified “tertiary” qualifications… The name of the school will deflate in value and in turn shift who we bring in by forcing us to ask a deeper “why them?” 


The Apparel / Footwear and Retail supply chains have for a long time seen a net loss of talent with a lack of new supply into the industry losing out to services sectors as younger generations look for work with purpose as well as earning potential. Google isn’t going to go out and launch a certification for textiles right off the bat (or even at all…) but it may start a snowball effect across corporations and their leadership teams. The redefinition of Talent will be an amplified topic across board rooms, leadership teams and recruiting behaviours will need to shift.

I’m Full…

– First mover advantage plays out well here, supply chains have the opportunity to refresh their entry-level/first starter criteria and to redefine their talent pools. Massive disruption & confusion in the future could occur when Google’s Education platform accelerates and organisations will move through these “redefinitions” in a similar window of time. Pioneers ultimately get rewarded and the businesses that start championing (publically) their own redefinitions of what qualifies as “talent” will earn the right type of “market rep”.

– On the flip-side we could see new pools of talent opening-up with businesses looking to deload existing talent. More MBA’s/Ivy Leagues might be walking into sourcing’s door.

– Perhaps the biggest threat/opportunity to supply chains is the acceptance of outside expertise into the organisation. An innovation accelerant or decelerant (because I believe old dogs can learn new tricks and key to the industry’s future is the transfer of knowledge between leaders and new inbound talent) 

– Accessibility to a wider range of jobs may lower interest in supply chain careers. The pool of workers that could no longer afford to pursue higher education will now be extended opportunities that previously existed outside of the spectrum. Creating an appeal in supply chain careers even down to the factory worker level is prudent to ensuring a sustainable supply of talent for the future.

– In the more distant future… Vulnerable populations will unlock the pursuit of careers and ambitions (new business creation as a result of new access to education), the global economic impact could be a massive net positive. The impact on retail supply chains could be negative if innovation & automation doesn’t move in cadence with a potentially smaller labour force.

– Population growth will continue and maybe we’ll always have people to “fill production lines” however, maybe we need to take the view that even on the factory floor we need people who are driven to be there. We need to cultivate desire as well as the necessity. Necessity = Income | Desire = Purpose & Mission

– Outsourcing could be massively decentralised. Heightened by the pandemic the ability for global populations to work within the same entity is amplified and the talent pool access is liberalised as a result. We’re on the cusp of a really exciting time and moves from a power player like Google can dictate the way the market moves going forward. Future-proofing talent just got a whole lot more exhilarating.

-A few months ago I covered talent’s acquisition’s redefinition, new whitespace opportunities with talent, then some… Read in if you get a 20-minute window this week. “Talent Acquisition reimagined for a world on fire.”

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