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Your college degree isn’t enough for the workforce

University is much more than just an institution wherein students learn and get degrees; rather, it is a place where students have the opportunity to build a life that they envision for themselves. You learn how to do “adult” things that you thought just did itself, such as filing taxes and paying the utility bill.

Students struggle to make it both to and through college with the hopes that all their blood, sweat and tears will pay off and that they will have a secure job when they graduate. In addition to that, many are in debt trying to obtain a degree for jobs that employers say we are not equipped enough to handle. Unfortunately, it takes a lot more than an impressive resume to not only secure a job but keep one.

Within the last few years, it is apparent that employers don’t think college graduates have the skills necessary for the workforce. Employers feel that college students lack professionalism, work ethic, problem-solving and leadership skills among others.

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Although more students are acquiring bachelor’s degrees than ever before and are more formally educated out of college, there is a discrepancy between how confident students feel about their skills going into the workforce. Additionally, how confident employers feel that recent college grads can perform at work. 

 

The National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook for 2019 states that among “the four top-rated competencies in terms of need—critical thinking/problem solving, teamwork, professionalism/work ethic, and oral/written communications—the difference between the need and proficiency ratings are the greatest. 100 percent of employers rated the competency as very or extremely essential.”

A cause of these gaps between a student’s personal view of their own capabilities and their employers’ views can be tied to the younger generation’s increasing dependence on and access to technology.

The accessibility of information by the mere click of a button can be perceived as an advantage. While this thought is valid — knowledge is power, after all — instantaneous answers are taking away the ability for students to think for themselves, weakening critical thinking skills.

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Another huge area that this generation’s college graduates are said to be missing is professionalism and work ethic. We live in an age of self-indulgent social media, where the need to document and broadcast every detail via pictures and videos takes precedence over living in the moment. This can translate into a heightened sense of self-awareness and form into warped perceptions of confidence.

Teamwork is an attribute that’s among the most highly sought-after traits by employers. However, this is also a category in which college seniors and graduates are only deemed “somewhat” proficient in.

In history’s arguably most “connected” era, we are the most disconnected. Our level of friendship is measured by how quickly they like or comment and quantity as opposed to quality. It’s a lot more difficult now to create meaningful interactions with our peers, and we are more awkward when it comes to collaborating with people in person.

Every generation has its drawbacks. Baby boomers dealt with being financially irresponsible, and for our generation, it’s how the past generations see us and how capable we are to work in professional capacities even though we are pursuing more education.