Hamilton Board of Trustees chairman and former Procter & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley ’69 and Samuel J. Palmisano, former IBM CEO, were featured as corporate leaders with liberal arts degrees in a Chronicle of Higher Education article titled “Skills Gap? Employers and Colleges Point Fingers at Each Other.” The Sept. 12 article reported that both men “credit their undergraduate education for their accomplishments. … they often talk about the inherent importance of the liberal arts to a successful workplace where creativity, problem solving, flexibility, and teamwork are paramount.
“With the liberal arts ‘you get to exercise your whole brain,’ says Lafley, …‘Inductively reasoning in the science courses, deductively reasoning in some of the philosophy and humanities courses, abductively reasoning in design. You understand inquiry. You understand advocacy.’”
The article addressed the fact that while employers agree that the skill they most want in future workers is adaptability, those in human resources making hiring decisions do not necessarily recruit with that in mind. Employers are split on preparation for the workplace. Forty-five percent would prefer candidates with an education that specifically prepares them for the workplace versus 55 percent who prefer those with a broad-based education.