‘Tertiary education is failing to keep up with the needs of employers’

by HRD10 Jan 2018
How important are university degrees to employers in 2018?

Interestingly, graduates tend to view their degree as less important to their employment than their supervisors did, according to the 2017 Employer Satisfaction Survey.

One quarter of graduates said their degree was not important for their current job, compared with 19.5% of employer supervisors.

Moreover, the national survey revealed employers rate the skills and performance of female university graduates higher than those of male graduates.

The survey of more than 4000 employers on how well universities prepared graduates for the workforce found employers reported a satisfaction rate of 85% for female graduates, compared with 82% for male graduates.

Steve Shepherd, CEO at youth career coaching firm TwoPointZero, said it comes as no surprise the 2017 Employer Satisfaction Survey shows tertiary education is failing to keep up with the needs of employers and many graduates are finding their degrees to be close useless for their jobs.

“We’ve created this belief that going to University is a sure fire way to get on the career ladder, earn good money and get ahead,” he said.

“There are now more young people than ever before going to university, yet Australia’s youth unemployment rate is more than double the national average, at 12.4%.”

Shepherd added that it’s clear that a degree isn’t the “promised golden ticket” to get a job.

“In fact, what we are seeing is many young people pick any degree to say they’ve been to university, without thinking about the impact it will have on their careers. We’re essentially suffering from ‘degree inflation’, where the value of a degree is diminishing and rapidly,” he said.

 “Performance funding is not the answer. It doesn’t actually address the issue, just distracts from it and could lead to higher education being out of reach for many young people today.”

Shepherd said what we should be looking at and funding instead is improved career education in schools, as most schools currently spend less than a cup of coffee per student per year on careers advice.

“We need to provide more guidance to parents to help them understand the employment market isn’t the same as when they left school. And, we need to stop thinking going to university is the be all and end all,” he said.

“Everyone is different. Everyone likes different things. Everyone has different strengths. It is time we accept that and better align our educational institutions to encourage diversity and create better career paths for our young people, whether it be going to university to become an engineer or going vocational education to receive practical skills to apply in the workforce.”

“Many of the most in demand jobs at the moment, don’t require a degree. So why all the pressure to go to university? There needs to be a better balance and we need to start educating young people on their career paths much earlier.

“This would help prevent people from taking a degree for the sake of it and better align their education with their chosen career path, making it more relevant to the employment market.”

Moreover, employer satisfaction scores for different universities ranged from 91 to 77%. The University of Notre Dame had the second-highest employer satisfaction rate in Australia, with 89.1%.

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More Australians in full-time positions than ever before: ABS


  • by Nic 10/01/2018 11:48:59 AM

    This is a result of socialism creeping into university. The goal now is to indoctrinate students rather than educating them on practical experiences related to the work place. Degrees also are way too long.

    To me it would make sense to make courses 1 year long where students actually do simulated work relating to their degree. Not just hypothetical's taught by people who spend their career in education.

    Half of my units were completely irrelevant and at least one semester of units was just trying to force us to agree with their politically correct views. I.e the unit on Aboriginals where you needed to write a personal reflection however, if your personal reflection didn't align with the teachers view you would fail?.....

  • by Steve 12/01/2018 4:45:16 PM

    I agree with your main thrust here Nic, but it's actually communism (Marxism to be exact) which is creeping in. It is fast becoming clear to me that George Orwell was the greatest prophet of the 20th century. Just sayin'...

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