Employers Report Students Don’t Have Enough Work Experience

April 4th, 2014 by Jennifer Frankel

Finding a job 477036985The Issue:

Finding employment after college is often difficult. Traditionally, few degrees offer work integrated learning, internships, or actual job experience as part of their programs. Even fewer programs and degrees offer straightforward career placement upon graduation.

This lack of infrastructure to support students’ transitions from the university to the workplace hurts both students and employers—students graduate and move on to the “job hunt”, wherein they regularly must settle for nearly any employment opportunity (often completely outside of their specific field).

Employers, on the other hand, are left with a series of new hires with absolutely no prior training or hands-on experience from which to draw—according to Inside Higher Ed, nearly two thirds of employers surveyed cited these new hires as drains on productivity and resources.

The Solution:

In response, institutions around the world are taking actions to emphasize and increase work integrated learning and networking opportunities into both the curricula of an increased number of programs, as well as broader university infrastructure.

These actions include:

  • increasing the amount of hands-on training within particular career fields (while introducing it to others)
  • providing research and employment networks through the university
  •  a shift toward competency-based degrees, wherein degrees are awarded based on evidence of learning rather than earned credit hours, etc.

For students, this shift toward competency-based learning can be a real boon in that students can use supplementary resources (like MOOCs [Massive Open Online Courses]) to enhance their understanding of a field and thus, shorten the time it takes to receive a degree in an area in which they have demonstrated mastery.

  • Many students have a difficult time finding employment that pertains to their degree upon graduation due to a number of factors, including: limited or no prior experience in the workplace, lack of access to research or career networks within the university that would assist in finding employment, and no career-oriented education
  • Many employers find themselves with new hires who are a drain on resources as they have no prior experience
  • Work-integrated learning and competency-based degree systems are current ways of addressing these issues—making employment easier to find for graduates, and making graduates more competent in the workplace and, hence, more employable.
  • International students can benefit tremendously by getting ahead of this trend in international education and employment by looking into programs that offer work-integrated learning, internships, mentorships, or offer competency-based degrees.

Want to learn more? Check out International Student Loan’s article on how you can find a job in the US after graduation.

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