It’s true — many universities graduate lack tangible job skills. Besides that, machines keep doing are of the work the humans used to do. What does it mean? It means you better continually invest upgrade your skills if you want stay employed.
Schools and University Don’t Provide Vital Work Skills
From a business perspective, b-schools are falling to provide both the knowledge and the methods of skill development needed to prosper in the 21st Century. Employers don’t need more “theory wonks,” — employees long on theory and short on action.
Periodically, we see studies asking university presidents if their institutions are preparing their students for the world of work. Typically, about 90% of them say it does. But only 20% of business executives agree when asked the same question.
For many years, I have been fortunate to teach as an adjunct professor for different universities in the disciplines of management, leadership, entrepreneurship (both for profit and social) and psychology. The students I am lucky enough to teach are smart and good at taking tests, writing papers and getting good grades.
But I also founded and run a training and development company. So I’m always on the lookout for talent. Yet, I can’t find students skilled enough to run a digital marketing campaign. It’s gotten so bad, that we have our own digital marketing training program.
Honestly, most of the employers I talk to DON’T hire critical thinkers — in fact, I have yet to see this on a job description. But they do need application skills such as: executing a marketing campaign, managing projects, running efficient meetings, solving complex operational problems, etc. Mostly good leadership skills with solid management and technical abilities.
Its long been a source of frustration that the vast majority of newly minted new hires lack key business skills. And they know little about skill development. So employees lack a critical competency that increases their value in the eyes of the executive. And the organization wastes precious time and money in training programs.
You might say that this is very interesting and one shouldn’t be gloomy and doomy. And you are right. There are many economists who like to use the past as the best predictor of the future. And they say that machine intelligence is simply innovation and innovation destroys some jobs and while creating others.
There is an old saying that applies here. It’s a business statistic if you lose your job. But a depression if I lose mine. If you wait and do nothing until your job goes away, it will likely be too late to engage in the kind of skill development needed to quickly transition into another high paying jobs mid-century.
The time to best protect your house from a storm is not after it rains, it’s when the sun is out.