Crisis of Confidence: Workforce Skill Gaps

This week I had the chance to read the recent Strada-Gallup research entitled “Crisis of Confidence: Current College Students Do Not Feel Prepared for the Workforce”.  One data point was particularly telling. When higher education chief academic officers were asked how effective they were at preparing students for the workforce – 96% stated they were very or somewhat effective. Compare that to the impressions of business leaders (11%) and students’ (36%). It’s obvious that there is a big gap between what industry needs and how higher education is preparing the next generation workforce. It also points to a skills gap that we can’t ignore. Here are a few other highlights about the perceptions of STEM degree seekers, the role of advisors, and career services resources.

  • Of STEM majors, students were 36% confident that they will graduate with the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in the workplace. However, it’s interesting to note that students pursuing STEM degrees reported the most confidence about their job prospects in comparison to other degree types.
  • 46% of students found academic advisers beneficial when choosing courses and majors, but only 28% believe they are helpful in identifying or evaluating potential career options.
  • Nearly four in 10 students have never visited their school’s career services office or used online career resources.
  • Of students who have visited career services, 57% obtained advice about potential career options or jobs – but only 29% of students found the service helpful.
  • Black and Hispanic students found career services more helpful at 40% and 32% respectively than their counterparts.  

Couragion strongly believes that career literacy should be integrally woven into education to improve relevance, better inform student choice, and increase retention in real-world career paths. Career literacy for educators exposes faculty to career pathways, helps them to understand high demand careers and the skills that industry demands, and encourages faculty create links between academic studies and real-world careers.

Read the full report to discover more about students' confidence in their preparation for life after college.

Melissa RisteffComment