- Students have an outdated understanding of the importance of college majors, according to Handshake, a recruiting platform and career community for college students. While 81.5% of students responding to a survey said major selection is a key determinant of future job prospects, only 50% of the company's premium clients specified a major requirement in job listings.
- Students' overemphasis of the relationship between major and career prospects "is outdated and needs to be reevaluated," said Christine Cruzvergara, Handshake's VP of higher education and student success, in a statement. Instead, they should "focus on developing skills including the ability to synthesize information, think critically, and communicate well," she added.
- When asked to identify the most important factor in landing a job, students from all majors except engineering chose "prior internship/job experience" as number one. Engineering students selected "relevant skills."
A growing number of employers are not only focusing on skills over college majors, but bypassing degrees as a job requirement.
JPMorgan Chase, for example, announced earlier this year a $350 million, five-year global initiative to meet the growing demand for skilled workers. "The new world of work is about skills, not necessarily degrees," said Jamie Dimon, the company's chairman and CEO, in a statement at the time. "We must remove the stigma of a community college and career education, look for opportunities to upskill or reskill workers, and give those who have been left behind the chance to compete for well-paying careers today and tomorrow."
Perhaps in response to the tight talent market, some employers have gone even further, prioritizing soft skills over technical skills. They've placed a premium on soft skills that are applicable across job functions and industries, such as good interpersonal skills, critical thinking ability, effective communication and listening skills, attention to detail, and organization skills — especially for entry-level professional candidates.