Many young people assume having a diploma will facilitate their entry into the job market, but often find they are in for a surprise. This reality is prompting many to call into question the role of higher education institutions when it comes to preparing graduates for the realities of working life.
At least, this is what a recent survey of 3,000 respondents found. The results indicated that 46% of respondents felt that their studies had not prepared them for their current job.
Far more of them (61%) credited their previous jobs for helping them acquire the skills they needed to carry out their missions. According to them, training provided by their employer (41%) and their life experience (37%) also contributed to preparedness.
Most respondents stated that they would have liked their university education to have taught them how to tackle career progression. A third of them would have liked to learn more about the fundamentals of their profession and how teams work together. They would have appreciated a more pragmatic, and less theoretical, educational approach to the job market.
Employees are not the only ones who feel this way: recruiters are increasingly adopting a “skills-first” approach to the hiring process, putting knowledge and skill sets ahead of diplomas.
Indeed, companies that demand academic qualifications that are not related to the role often fail to recruit effectively. They may also be depriving themselves of valuable talent, by excluding employees who do not have a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
That’s why some employers manage training modules and sessions themselves to help staff keep up with the demands of their jobs and hone their skills. Some, like KPMG, are particularly keen to encourage their less experienced employees to develop their professional abilities.
The UK branch of KPMG is offering courses to its Gen-Z employees to overcome shortcomings in teamwork or oral presentation skills, while Deloitte and PwC have also set up similar instructional programmes, various media report.
While these initiatives may seem unusual, they are rather popular among those involved. Young people, like their older colleagues, are well aware of the importance of continuing education in the job market.
Overall, two-thirds of those questioned in the abovementioned survey said the opportunity to acquire new skills was a factor in their decision to take a new job or stay in their current one. Furthermore, it’s a good way to compete for assignments or greater responsibility, or justify a request for a raise.
Some 45% of Gen Z-ers look at learning and development opportunities as a means to earning a better living, while older employees are more inclined to look at them as linked to general personal growth.