Goldman Sachs CEO reveals the valuable job skill he's finding 'less and less'

Friday, April 5, 2019 - 13:19

Goldman Sachs (GS) CEO David Solomon said the one skillset that's becoming harder to find is the ability to write.

"I'll tell you one that we're finding less and less inside the firm that I think is an important skill set, but actually we find it from students that come from Hamilton or other liberal arts backgrounds, is an ability to write," Solomon said during a panel in response to a question from Yahoo Finance about the hardest skill to hire for today.

This week, Solomon and former Legendary Entertainment CEO Thomas Tull, now the founder of investment firm Tulco, returned to their alma mater, Hamilton College, to talk to students about technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Solomon is a big advocate for a liberal arts education, especially when it comes to critical thinking and problem solving, though he recognized that it's not the path for everyone.

Hamilton's curriculum emphasizes communication, both public speaking and writing. These skills had a profound impact on Solomon's career.

"How you communicate with other people, how you interact with other people, how you express yourself will have a huge impact on your success. And, when I try to point to things that have helped me, my ability to communicate, which was rooted in a lot of experience that I got here on the hill," Solomon told a group of students at the college's career center earlier in the day.

Academics and I.Q. are way overweighted

Solomon, who is six months into his tenure as CEO of Goldman, also explained that success isn't about intelligence, but rather how you relate to others.

"The other thing I'd point to that's so important is there is a real emphasis when people are interviewing around academics and I.Q. I think it's way overweighted,” Solomon told the students. “There should be equal emphasis on E.Q. and how you interact with people, how you relate to people, and how you connect with people.

"And even in a world where more and more machines and technology are disrupting the way we do business and the way we all connect, a lot of the value is still created through human interaction and the ability to motivate people or get people to move in a direction with you. All of those are things in my experience here that had a meaningful impact on me and helped me along the way."

During the evening panel discussion, Tull also weighed in on the hardest skill set to find, explaining that a lot of people aren't interested in staying in one place for a long time.

"I might say finding folks who are looking for longer-term employment versus being transient, especially what we do. We put an awful lot into [Tulco] Labs and so forth so if people are in and out that's harder to kind of build up a knowledge set," Tull said.

Solomon agreed that a lot of young people are in a hurry and not focused on the long-term.

"There's a real benefit to being patient, a little more committed to things," Solomon said, "It's a long, winding road. In my career, I got some great advice a long time ago which was from my grandmother which was, 'Don't be in a hurry.'"

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