The old adage “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” has perhaps never been more true.
Today, some estimates suggest that up to 70% of all jobs are not published on publicly available job search sites, and research has long shown that anywhere from half to upwards of 80% of jobs are filled through networking. Looking ahead to a dramatically shifting labor market, the worth of networks only stands to grow. According to experts at Deloitte’s Future of Work practice, tomorrow’s job seekers will increasingly need to “find others who can help them get better faster — small workgroups, organizations, and broader and more diverse social networks.”
Unfortunately, the value of these networks is routinely and egregiously underestimated when it comes to helping young people get ahead. Efforts to increase social mobility and access to opportunity rightfully focus on what people know and the credentials they obtain — their human capital. But that model is incomplete. It undervalues the array of professional connections into industry that young people need to compete — their social capital.