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Education and leadership go hand in hand

Leaders like Bill Gates who don’t have a degree (Gates dropped out of Harvard after two years to start Microsoft) are the exception, not the norm

By ATB Economics 13 November 2020 1 min read

The latest episode of ATB’s The Future Of Podcast features an interview with Dr. Elizabeth Cannon, former President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calgary. Dr. Cannon reflects on her experiences as a leader and the skills leaders will need to possess in the future.

It’s not a guarantee, but getting a good education is highly correlated with people in leadership positions.

In the business world, the vast majority of CEOs have a degree in one field or another. According to a study of 2,600 CEOs, 92 per cent had a degree. Another study found that “over 98 per cent of the S&P 500 CEOs in 2004 had a bachelor’s degree.”

Leaders like Bill Gates who don’t have a degree (Gates dropped out of Harvard after two years to start Microsoft) are the exception, not the norm.

We also know that higher levels of education are correlated with lower levels of unemployment and higher levels of income.

According to the 2016 Census, the average employment income of Albertans with no certificate, diploma or degree was $46,232 compared to $76,148 for those with an apprenticeship or trade certificate/diploma and $79,181 for those with a bachelor’s degree.

At the same time, Dr. Cannon stresses that the leaders of today and tomorrow will need a wide range of soft skills including empathy and the ability to inspire others. Also key will be a knack for building trust and reducing the polarization that characterizes the current environment.

Higher levels of education are correlated with lower levels of unemployment

Higher levels of education are correlated with lower levels of unemployment


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