Economist: Skills, Not Degrees, Will Drive Post-COVID Economy

In an interview at, economist Peter Blair, director of the Project on Workforce at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, expressed his concerns about a “K-shaped economy” — one in which workers in high-wage jobs return to a post-COVID growth in wages, while lower-wage workers experience declining economic prospects. By focusing on skills, employers can play a direct role in creating a more equitable recovery, according to Blair.

“The best businesses will hire on the basis of a worker’s skill, not academic credentials,” Blair said. “Given the rising cost of college and the worsening economic conditions because of COVID-19, paying for college imposes a significant financial burden on most families. As more workers opt for alternative forms of training, the future of talent management will crucially rely on identifying talented workers among the more than 50% of the U.S. workforce who don’t have a college degree.” 11/23/2020