Are we preparing our graduates for employment?

Most of us know a recent university or college graduate looking for employment. As of Jan. 2019, the Canadian youth unemployment rate was double the national average.

Most of us know a recent university or college graduate looking for employment.  As of Jan. 2019, the Canadian youth unemployment rate was double the national average.  So, what’s happening?  Lack of educated candidates? No, in fact, Canadians have become the most educated people in the world with 56.7 % of the 25-64-year-old’s have a post-secondary education. 

A 2015 study from McKinsey + Company found that 83% of educators feel youth are prepared for work, only 34% of employers and 44% of youth agree. There’s an obvious discrepancy between the expectations of the educators, employers and students. A simple solution would be for educators to engage with employers and students and resolve the gap.

The issue is a bit more complicated because typically educators focus on academics or hard skills and employers and students are more challenged with social or soft skills. Educators teach the course curriculum or academic material and test students on their comprehension. The students either know the material or they don’t.  The more difficult part of getting and maintaining a job are not the hard skills or knowledge but the required soft skills.  Research shows it’s the human skills that are increasingly needed to succeed in the workforce.  The more recent Deming study showed the jobs requiring good social skills also pay more.

I ‘ve had many conversations with students, co-op students, and recent grads and they all agree.  When applying for a job they find it difficult.  A resume gets them an interview but a good interview is required for them to land the job which requires good soft skills.   Soft skills are also required to maintain a job, be promoted and lead teams.  

In my opinion, we should be doing more to prepare our students and one of the reasons I wrote the first in my series of books called.  “Image is Everything”

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