As business environments and the global job market develop in tandem with global advancements in technology and a strengthening economy, the future looks bright. Yet, today’s graduates are finding their newly acquired degrees are not the ticket to employment they once thought.
While the global job market shifts and morphs, academia remains firmly rooted in theoretical study. They are simply not keeping up with new business demands.
In many ways, the Ivory Tower has failed to keep up with a fast-paced global job market. But, by focusing on three areas of development, graduates can get ahead and better prepare for the world of work.
Academic Study is Just the First Step
Traditional education tends to focus primarily on developing cognitive intelligence and theoretical knowledge. Improved cognition – a person’s thinking skills and ability to learn – is a valuable skill developed through higher education. Yet, increasingly employers in the gloibal job market are questioning the transferable skills learned from academia.
Sure, there is a case to make for academia in priming students for continued development. However, there is great debate over the real use of a degree.
Bock acknowledges an increase at Google of the “proportion of people without any college education”. This means your degree is still valuable, but employers are looking for more transferable skills. If you want to broaden your learned expertise there are a huge number of massive open online courses (MOOC), available through platforms like Coursera. Alternatively, government backed degree apprenticeships, from institutions like the Tech Partnership, offer a combination of academic learning and on the job training.
By 2020, Georgetown University estimates that 35% of jobs will require a minimum qualification of a bachelor’s degree, and a total of 65% will require some form of postsecondary education. Your academic achievement is still important, but it is just one part of what is needed.
Personal Development and Self-Mastery
In a fast-paced world of increasing distraction and growing interconnectedness, Peter Senge and Daniel Goldman argue, a new approach is needed to help students succeed. Their concept, described as “triple focus”, is breaks down into three parts; self-awareness, empathy, and your relationship with the larger world.
Through developing these skills of emotional intelligence and communication students are better equipped to deal with the complexities of the world. Education Week echoes this proposal, citing research from Howard Gardner and his identification of “intra-psychic” and “inter-personal” intelligences. This means the ability to manage the self and relationships with others. And this approach is not confined to the academics of academia. This mindset is also reflected in the hiring behaviors of the most desirable workplaces today.
A commitment to personal development through focused interior practices from practicing mindfulness, meditation or physical exercise such as Tai Chi or yoga are all examples of self-mastery. Today, this is easier than ever with a plethora of online resources and groups, from Facebook groups and events, and tools like Headspace and Mindvalley that teach people a range of personal skills to help face larger challenges in the world. This is particularly pertinent when considering the webs of interdependence we navigate in the world of work.
Engage with the World Through Job Training
Ultimately it is all about the quality of impact you make in the world. Academia focuses on preparing people for the future. But this doesn’t mean you must wait until you’ve become a workforce veteran for your time to shine.
Explore internships and apprenticeship options, for example using sites like Internships.com or Looksharp.com. A number of projects also help provide business advice to aspiring entrepreneurs with their own business ideas. The DO School Start-Up Lab helps participants to develop solid business models, plan resources and understand organizational requirements, with a focus on maximising societal impact. Or drop in to your local Impact Hub, to take advantage of the global collaborative network that supports people launching new ventures.
Explore on Social Media
Get on LinkedIn and check-out how people in your industry started off in the global job market. Take advantage of alumni schemes and reach out to people in your network for insider knowledge and connections. Key your ear to the ground, both online and off. Just as important: be consistently present at local industry events.
With so much happening in the world today, new entrants to the workforce need additional competencies to meet these demands. It means you need to be a communicator, a collaborator and to turn a critical eye to current approaches. All this goes beyond the skills you learn through established academia. Therefore, the successful graduates of the Class of 2017 will be those that focus on connecting with the wider world.
Your goal: build a career in an increasingly interconnected and complex global job market.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at StartUps.co!