Education vs work skills: what do employers really want?

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Incredibly important topic tackled recently at the Wharton Reimagine Education Conference in Philadelphia with representatives from Google, EY, Apple, IE Business School and others.

Here’s what stood out for me (link to full article from the World Economic Forum here):

SKILLS GAP: Industry leaders continue to complain about a “skills gap,” asserting they can’t find qualified candidates. According to the Economic Policy Institute, more than 7% of U.S. college graduates are unemployed and nearly 15% under-employed.

LIBERAL ARTS: Employers have two big problems including quality of the education along with empirical evidence that students in the programs do not advance in their critical thinking skills over time. Many also felt liberal arts doesn’t prepare candidates sufficiently with job-specific skills.

STUDENTS NOT ASPIRING TO CONVENTIONAL FIRMS: This point was raised by Jaime Casap, chief education evangelist at Google. “If you look at Generation Z, 42% of them want to start their own business…. Today, five kids with laptops and some server space on Google or Amazon can start whatever they want.”

LIFELONG LEARNING: In this fast-paced world, students must be prepared to be lifelong learners. Another big challenge for educators is how to keep seniors (adults 65+) entrepreneurial and up to date with their skills.

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