The Global Gap for Marketable Job Skills


Reposted from the WISE

“Globally, study after study is coming up with one message: graduates lack essential skills to get by in the workplace. They lack skills like communication, teamwork, critical thinking, the ability to work under pressure, and even punctuality! In a global survey of business leaders by Hult International Business School (2013), one of the key insights was that leaders held mostly negative views on both the process and products of business education, noting that students lack ‘real world’ experience; both in terms of experience and learning from faculty with real world experience. The survey noted that same missing skills [namely self-awareness, comfort with uncertainty, creativity, and critical thinking] while noting that education systems overemphasize functional knowledge.

This has become a ‘global gap’, and the search for ways to close the gap are afoot; in early 2014, the Economist teamed up with Lumina Foundation to launch a global challenge [with a reward to 10,000 USD] to find solutions to bridge the gap between the workforce and higher education. The central question in this competition is: How can companies work with higher education to ensure that the higher education system better prepares workers to be successful on the job and teaches skills that will remain valuable in the future.

Are schools and higher education institutions doing enough to prepare students for the world of work? Isn’t it their role to equip students with the skills that employers demand? Why are employers not doing much about it, and should they do more to smooth the student’s transition into the work life? I argue the answer to these questions is ‘simple’. The world of work has changed so fast in the past 2 decades, and the higher education system simply did not catch up. We have 20th century higher education systems, institutions, and faculty, trying to prepare students for a 21st century world of work.”

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