Keep Calm and Study on

The employment risks and rewards of spending on education

On Thursday, February 18, HEC Lausanne, the Faculty of Business and Economics of the University of Lausanne, and swissnex Boston New York Outpost organized a special panel bringing together both American and Swiss experts to gain practical insights into human capital choices. The event was put together by the Club HEC Lausanne in NYC (the network of HEC Alumni living in New York), and was held at WeWork Charging Bull in Lower Manhattan.

From left to right: Amy Lui Abel, PhD, Managing Director of Human Capital at The Conference Board, Vicki Salemi, Career Expert at Monster.com, Prof. Pascal St-Amour, Professor of Economics at HEC Lausanne, and Oliver Haugen, Head of swissnex Boston New York Outpost.

From left to right: Amy Lui Abel, PhD, Managing Director of Human Capital at The Conference Board, Vicki Salemi, Career Expert at Monster.com, Prof. Pascal St-Amour, Professor of Economics at HEC Lausanne, and Oliver Haugen, Head of swissnex Boston New York Outpost.

Pascal St-Amour, Professor of Economics at HEC Lausanne, gave a presentation on one of his latest research papers, “Human Capital and Employment Risks Diversification.” Educational attainment has increased sharply in the US, as well as in most countries over the last decades. What are the expected returns that justify households’ decision to invest more in human capital? One of the reasons Prof. St-Amour outlined is that people include unemployment risks in their human capital decisions, in addition to more typical income-related factors.

The presentation was followed by a panel composed of Prof. St-Amour, Amy Lui Abel, PhD, Managing Director of Human Capital at The Conference Board, and Vicki Salemi, Career Expert for Monster, author, speaker, and columnist. The panel was moderated by Oliver Haugen, Head of swissnex Boston New York Outpost. They discussed investments in human capital and education both from the individual and the company perspectives, as well as recent developments and trends in the labor market. A number of current issues were raised, such as how recruiters value a degree, and how education can help your career grow. Amy Abel explained that many corporations are actually facing a skills gap. To address the problem head-on, employers increasingly rely on in-house training, certification, and third-party or online boot camps for technical (e.g., coding) as well as soft skills (e.g., leadership).

 

 

The panel was followed by a Q&A and a networking reception. Over 40 people attended the event, including a dozen HEC Lausanne Alumni.

We would like to extend a warm thank you to each of the speakers for sharing their expert insights and experience with the attendees. The discussion was extremely informative and lively.