Nowadays, graduates experience an extremely steep learning curve in the labor market. The knowledge they gain at the universities may be insufficient for their desired positions, while workers whom they compete against have both experience and access to continuous training. These problems continue to accumulate, stagnating employment markets and making graduates disillusioned with their career choices. It is necessary to reimagine the introduction of new workers with no experience into well-established industries. This report will analyze the issues graduates are met with when entering the labor market, review possible solutions, and discuss the best possible approach among them.
Real job openings often require experience in the fields in that a company operates. However, freshly graduated students do not possess it, making their selection highly limited. Stakeholders seek people with an in-depth understanding of highly specific processes within their companies, and the existing workers can merely reflect on their experiences to incorporate new developments into their skill sets (Prikshat et al., 2019). For example, graduates who have earned degrees in engineering and seek full-time jobs have an employment rate of only 75% (Bennett, 2018). Graduates are less valuable as potential replacements for high-skilled jobs.
Despite the theoretical and, potentially, practical knowledge, students do not have the experience to replace the existing workforce in many fields, especially more complex ones. This issue forces new workers to take job offerings with lower skill requirements that do not lead to their initially expected positions (Prikshat et al., 2019). Due to this necessity, graduates do not gain the expertise in their respective industries as well as lack established connections with professionals, whose support is often paramount for further knowledge acquisition and transfer. According to the Foundation for Young Australians, twenty-nine percent of higher education students consider their academic achievements unimportant (Prikshat et al., 2019). It is the responsibility of an educational system to integrate fresh graduates into the existing workforce in a meaningful way that will not cause complete disillusionment with their life choices.
One of the viable solutions lies in education. In the age of rapid technological and social changes, students must be taught to be prepared for shifts in their chosen industries across an entire lifespan (Bennett, 2018). Courses must include the assessment of relevant job markets that will provide students with knowledge regarding expected shifts in their future careers. For example, teaching about the expected innovative technologies and methods can help graduates to find the desired spot in an industry of their choice with prospects of remaining in demand for the long term.
Work-integrated learning is a second option for fixing the lack of experience after graduation. Students can be employed by their potential future companies as interns to work on real-world problems and with actual clients (Fede, Gorman, and Cimini, 2018). According to statistics, graduates with internship experience have a 12.6% higher chance of being viewed as potential employees (Baert et al., 2021). Despite lower payrolls, this method gives graduates a solid foundation for job prospects and protects them from being unable to breach the initial barrier to entry. Moreover, universities often have contracts with local employers who agree to hire inexperienced workers. Such companies may provide extracurricular activities for students to entice them with better internship opportunities by developing more specific skills required for a particular position needed to be filled (Fede, Gorman, and Cimini, 2018). This easy path to a career choice may be beneficial for undergraduates who are willing to remain bound to a single firm after finishing their education.
I think that preparing students for future changes must be the top priority goal for educational facilities. Expectations from university courses must be reimagined with the inclusion of skill development strategies outside of a learning environment (Bennett, 2018). Students must be introduced to the concepts of sustainable employment and continuous market analysis to ensure that they not only adopt but also anticipate changes in their professional lives. This vital part of the education process is not often given sufficient attention, leaving graduates with feelings of confusion and uselessness, as their skills may rapidly become unwanted in the labor market. Flexibility is the key to success in the modern world, and the proposed solution can prepare the workforce that is ready for any changes.
Other options are still viable for universities to explore, yet they produce fewer positive outcomes. An internship is indeed a vital source of practical knowledge, yet it often conflicts with students’ current plans. However, at least 71% of undergraduates are already being employed in jobs that are essential for paying for their education, making this solution less viable (Fede, Gorman, and Cimini, 2018). A similar issue may arise in the case of company-backed training plans. Moreover, knowledge from such courses has a highly limited range of applications. Graduates may realize that their positions acquired through such a career path are unsatisfactory yet will be unable to find another employer who seeks the exact skill set they have been taught.
Baert, B.S. et al. (2021) ‘Student internships and employment opportunities after graduation: A field experiment,’ Economics of Education Review, 83, p. 102141.
Bennett, D. (2018) ‘Graduate employability and higher education: Past, present and future,’ HERDSA Review of Higher Education, 5, pp. 31–61. Web.
Fede, J.H., Gorman, K.S. and Cimini, M.E. (2018) ‘Student employment as a model for experiential learning,’ Journal of Experiential Education, 41(1), pp. 107–124.
Prikshat, V. et al. (2019) ‘Australian graduates’ work readiness – deficiencies, causes and potential solutions,’ Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, 10(2), pp. 369–386.