Education must shift to produce 'job-ready' grads
- "Demand-driven" education must be the new norm, says a new report from Pearson and Jobs for the Future. The report suggests that to meet the needs of employers in the future, educators will have to focus on turning out grads who are job-ready, having the qualifications and soft skills employers want. A collaboration between the two has already begun, but more is needed, it says.
- The report pulls data from previous studies, including a 2017 survey that revealed 55% of graduate recruiters ranked what they call "21st Century Skills" — including analytical ability, working cooperatively with others and other soft skills — as the biggest factor in hiring decisions. Overall, 90% put these skills in their top three.
- Still other data reveals that business is already working to quantify these skills: 69% are building databases of employee skills, traits and behaviors to improve hiring and selection. The report recommends a variety of steps that educators can take to fulfill this demand, including academic redesign, bootcamps, alternative learning, competency based education, credit for prior learning and more.
The report confirms what many employers are already saying: the future of work will require a focus on soft skills. Especially as the labor market remains tight, business continue to be pushed into the role of educator, hiring for soft skills and teaching technical skills.
To remain relevant, traditional education may have to adjust its approach. Emphasis on alternative learning is already taking hold as digital credentials are providing a foot in doors formerly reserved for college grads. Even major players like IBM are de-emphasizing diplomas in favor of experience and ability.
And soft skills aren't just a top priority for hiring; they're the number-one training priority for 2018, according to LinkedIn. Educators that work collaboratively with business to identify and train for these skills may see better graduate outcomes in the short term and avoid extinction in the long term.