Are Today’s Students ‘Academically Prepared’ but not ‘Marketplace Ready?’
Clearly, the world is reeling from the inability of young people to find jobs. It is not at all surprising to hear that many college graduates are struggling to find and keep jobs immediately after graduation. As these twenty-something’s return back from their summer vacations and hit the job pavement, many more are finding that their hard-won diplomas no longer guarantee immediate employment. In such a hotly competitive world, is the problem availability of jobs, or is it something else?
While many recent grads have found ways to excel academically, a major disconnect oftentimes occurs when they try to enter the workforce. The argument is often made that, in the U.S., there are enough jobs but there are mismatches between the jobs available and the skills required. And when it comes to today’s college graduates, this seems to be the case.
According to recent findings from the Career Advisory Board’s Effectively Counseling Graduating Students survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) in summer 2012, students are academically prepared, but not marketplace ready. In other words, they have not adequately learned how to translate their skills and experience to meet employers’ needs.
The survey also found that one of the biggest obstacles for students in finding a job after graduation is their unrealistic expectations of the amount of effort and motivation it takes to get a job. Perhaps the old adage is true in this case; patience really is a virtue.
And according to the survey, while career counselors applaud the effectiveness of one-on-one student career coaching, many think additional time and resources are needed with students who choose to take advantage of this option. One of the problems, however, is that many students aren’t taking advantage of the full range of services college career centers provide. But this is only part of the problem.
So what does this mean for the future of work for today’s young graduates? For starters, effective communication is as important today as ever. The ability for successful graduates entering the job market to be able to translate their valuable and transferrable skills to the demands of the professional world will be critical.
But when you take a step back and look at the larger picture as a whole, we will continue to see that job landscape is constantly changing and evolving. While people are being afforded more flexibility in the workplace, the competition for many jobs is intense, and there are no traditional linear “career paths” any more in one place or one industry. That means there will have to be evolutionary change, if not revolutionary change, in the way people – especially recent college graduates – are prepared for work, for life, and for life between jobs.
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This is my last posting for the next few days. I will be taking my office apart so that we can move to our new apartment downtown next Tuesday. I will be unplugged and disconnected except by tablet. Expect me to be back in the saddle before the end of next week probably in time to provide you with some more headlines. In the interim these are the stories I share with you this week:
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