There are many reasons to get an education. It gives you perspective on the world, makes you a complete person and most importantly, helps you build a career. Unfortunately, there is a major mismatch between our current educational system and the job skills employers need.
The paradox of high unemployment and a war for talent continues. We don’t have a jobs crisis; we have a skills crisis:
• 45 percent of U.S. employers say lack of skills is the main reason for entry-level vacancies.
• Only 42 percent of worldwide employers believe new graduates are adequately prepared for work.
Employers in the US understand this and they have increased their investment in training. Spending on corporate training grew 12 percent in 2012, the highest increase in nine years.
Skills gaps are costing companies money. Employers stated they would be willing to pay new workers higher salaries if they had entry-level skills the employers wanted — often basic reading, writing, math and problem solving skills.
Educational institutions are out of sync with employer needs. While 72 percent of educational leaders think newly educated workers are ready for work, only 42 percent of employers do. This is a big mismatch. Primary and secondary educational institutions are not in touch with employers needs.
Research at www.USDLA.org validates this. Most of our members are investing heavily in new online and virtual corporate universities, on-boarding programs and continuous learning programs.
Students agree that traditional education methods don’t drive skills development. Asked to rank the educational methods that drive their greatest improvement in skills, students cited on-the-job training as their No. 1 need. Lectures, the primary mode of education in schools, was rated 12th. USDLA research shows 72 percent of business managers say the same thing.
Corporate learning managers regularly blend lectures with a variety of informal learning techniques. Today corporations spend less than 60 percent of training budgets on instructor-led training.
Vocational training has less perceived value than academic degrees. Students in every country value traditional education over vocational education except for Germany, where 49 percent of respondents say academic education is more valuable. Germany is filled with apprentice-based programs - and has an unemployment rate among the lowest in Europe.
Students have weak understanding of the skills and degrees that will best help them find a job. This is another gap in the system. Most students are not sure what educational program will help them find a good job. Even when colleges and universities have great job-related programs, students are not coached on what these programs will actually mean for their career.
There are many lessons here:
1. Educational institutions need and want closer relationships with business to drive their own transformation. Employers should meet with local universities and schools, and help them understand workforce needs.
2. Massive open online courses will transform education. You can access these courses at little to no cost.
3. We can’t wait for schools and universities to build the skills we need. Learning investments are more important than ever, and this means a strong focus on talent-driven learning programs, talent management, assessment and developing a total corporate learning culture.
4. Skill development expertise is the new arsenal for business success. If you don’t take the time, spend the money or learn how to build world-class development programs, you will not be able to compete. There is no real war for talent; there is a war for skills, and there’s no better way to win the war than to build your arsenal internally.
*****The mission of the www.USDLA.org is to serve the distance learning community by providing advocacy, information, networking and opportunity. We will help you stay connected and ahead of trends in learning — distance learning , e-learning, mobile learning, computer-based training (CBT), web-based training (WBT), instructor-led training (ILT), online training, online learning, blended learning, classroom training, webinars... Email me: TCapone@USDLA.org to learn more.