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Are you T-Shaped Employee?



Simran Kaur - Strategic HR - Head, Chandresh Cables Ltd. Ahmedabad


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A T-shaped skill set would be most sought after in the near future for the jobs, career and learning development.

In the 21st century, careers are no longer narrowly defined by core skills, but through complementary skills and learning agility.

The T-shaped approach has been in use since the 1990s by mostly consulting and technical companies to recruit and manage talent.

The top of the T is the generalized part.

The upright stem of the T is the deeper understanding of your general knowledge — your expertise.

T-shaped professionals are experts in one or two disciplines (the vertical bar) and have also mastered other complimentary skills (horizontal crossbar) that make it easier for them to adapt in any environment.
Complementary skills include the ability to work effortlessly with others, the ability to apply knowledge across disciplines, the ability to see from other perspectives, and an understanding of fields outside your area of expertise.

They have deep knowledge and skills in a particular area of specialization, along with and the desire and ability to make connections across disciplines.

T-shaped people have both depth & breadth in their skills.

Transforming into a t-shaped (or comb-shaped) professional could be just what you need to take your career to the next level.

For long there has been the Generalist Vs Specialist debate going around in the hiring circle and this format blends both worlds.

Great ideas are born at the intersection of disciplines since they must carry both utility, which comes from sector expertise, and novelty, which stems from exposure to diverse fields

For those who don’t know about a T-shaped skill set, it is the format where someone has basic understanding across multiple concepts and in depth knowledge about one.

One of the key benefits I see here is their ability to communicate with other functions. Their basic knowledge allows them to use the right terms and make communication faster and efficient.

While there are other models such as Pi, I and comb – this one in specific seems to the most pragmatic approach in today’s world.

Are you a T-Shaped professional (Generalizing Specialist) or just a Specialist matters the most.

Of late I align towards the idea that a T-shaped skill set would be most sought after in the near future for the jobs, career and learning development.