How do hiring managers measure talent? Traditionally, the resume has been seen as a proxy for success, along with a college degree.

But those measurements don’t always predict who will succeed in a job or a career.

Gayatri Agnew, Senior Director, Walmart Giving (Photo: USCCF)

“Someone who went to college will have more formalized education and more traditionally recognized skill, but is not inherently more capable or more talented or more skilled than someone who has learned those skills essentially on the front lines of work,” says Gayatri Agnew, senior director of Walmart Giving.

Agnew believes that not only do we have a crisis of underemployment, “we also have a crisis around recognizing where skills are learned or where learning occurs.”

I got a chance to explore these ideas with Agnew on our Work in Progress podcast recorded at the Talent Forward 2019 workforce conference organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation a few weeks ago.

She says that in the five years she’s been at Walmart, she’s been continuously surprised by the amazing, high quality of talent and skill of the associates working in their stores. Agnew says the goal is to upend the notion that “talent is equally distributed, but opportunity is not.”

“We set out to recognize that learning occurs everywhere, especially at work. And if we can give working learners, particularly front line service sector working learners, pathways to formalize the skills they have and to earn more skills through work, they will be able to access stronger pathways to economic opportunity and economic prosperity.”

Walmart has several programs for its own associates, including Live Better U and Walmart Academies, to leverage their existing skills and learn even more skills that can help them build strong careers.

You can hear all about them in this episode of Work in Progress, available here and wherever you get your podcasts. If you like what you hear, please subscribe!

We hope you enjoy the conversation. And next week, we speak with Andrew Dunckelman, head of education and economic opportunity for

Gayatri Agnew (second from left) on Talent Forward 2019 panel (Photo: USCCF)

Episode 115: Gayatri Agnew, Senior Director, Walmart Giving
Host: Ramona Schindelheim, Editor-in-Chief, WorkingNation
Producer: Larry Buhl
Executive Producers: Joan Lynch, Melissa Panzer, and Ramona Schindelheim
Engineer: Daniel Tureck
Music: Composed by Lee Rosevere and licensed under CC by 4.0.

You can check out all the other podcasts at this link: Work in Progress podcasts