This week, it’s a hot hiring market, but graduates are shying away from applying - since they don’t feel ready for the workplace.
Here’s a look at what parents need to know about this troubling disconnect - and how to help solve it, both at scale and at home
The data suggests that it’s a great time to be a new graduate on a job hunt. The U.S. has an unprecedented labor shortage with over (8.1 million jobs open) and, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, there are 33% more jobs are available for the class of 2022 than there were in 2021. Employers across the board are eager to hire, and the average time from an interview to offer acceptance is approximately 40 days.
All good news - except that recent research from educational content and services company Cengage shows that, sadly, graduates aren’t confident about their own employability or the market relevance of their degrees, so much so that, 50% of the recent college graduates surveyed, said that they are just choosing not to apply to entry-level roles.
Cengage, which surveyed 1,600 recent college graduates from 2-year and 4-year institutions who are currently employed, found that:
- Half of the graduates (50 percent) didn’t apply to entry-level jobs because they felt underqualified.
- One in five (21 percent) say their college didn’t provide them with needed job skills;
- 29 percent of all graduates spent more than six months trying to find a job after graduation
Nearly half of graduates don’t believe their education was worth what they paid, and one in three don’t think, so their education helped them land their job.
What’s going on - and what needs to happen
Even though students are taking on record-high levels of debt for their college and university education, they aren’t convinced that what they have learned applies to the available jobs - which is a terrible state of play from every perspective.
For a start, the education system needs to evaluate how they prepare students with employable skills and how they communicate the connection between what they are doing in the classroom and how it relates to their options in the job market. There’s an opportunity for higher education to evolve and integrate career preparation, certification(s), and internships into course curricula - making it more practical and providing students with an understanding of what options they have and what works in their industry.
At the same time, employers should re-evaluate how they describe what’s required for roles, including adjusting how they evaluate candidates and whether a college degree is necessary to succeed at the position or if it is just a leftover screening mechanism. With the data from across industries showing that the talent and skills gap threatens their operations, innovations, and growth, the timing is right for disrupting how employers prepare and screen talent.
To help recent graduates struggling to find the right entry point or feeling an imposter syndrome about what they can offer the job market, here’s what parents can do to help:
- Recognize Today’s Job Realities:
Even with today’s job market vacancies, parents must understand that the hiring landscape for early careerists has dramatically changed. While it was not uncommon for college students to choose from several job offers a few decades ago, it is far more common for today’s college students to graduate without an employment offer in hand. According to job recruitment experts, on-the-job training is becoming less and less common: Today's entry-level hires are often expected to contribute on day one, and a job seeker may need to do additional skill-building through internships and coursework before they’re even considered for a job — a degree is simply no longer enough.
- Help Them Get Insights Into What Work Looks Like.
Since what happens “at work” remains unclear to most graduates, understanding what they have to offer becomes especially difficult. Help them by:
- Encourage them to talk to people one to two years ahead of them. This is the best way for them to authentically network and learn about possible work options and potential opportunities. See if their school career office has mentoring or shadow opportunities to help with this.
- The Transferable Skills Conversation.
Help them unbundle how what your graduate did in their extracurricular activities and their school year jobs all signal transferable abilities and talents.
- This is worth an intentional conversation or coaching session since it can help them re-frame how they tell their own story and what they see. Worth seeing if their university or college offers available services.
For parents with high school-age kids trying to figure out their career readiness paths are, this data suggests that better career conversations are overdue in figuring out the best options for their child, at this time and from what’s available.
It’s a big topic and this is just the start of a deeper conversation on how to get our kids better ready for the new world of work. Have a question or angle that I should cover, drop it to me on Twitter: @thelongrange
You Might Also Be Interested In:
- “Inside “gentle parenting,” No punishments, No timeout. No bribery.” The FT Magazine, June 15, 2022
- “Let's actively Teach Our Kids Romantic and Relationship Competence” It’s one of the most effective ways to future-proof their happiness and wellbeing.
- “Worrying about the future goes hand in hand with parenting, but where does this get us?” Perhaps it’s more important to focus on our children’s present by giving them the best childhood we can” by Saman Shad The Guardian
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