Do employers need a mind-shift as millennials shun university?

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Every generation brings about its own changes and the millennials are certainly following that trend. It’s a generation that, fuelled by technology and greater choice, is challenging many things – including the route into the workplace.
 
Generation X was encouraged to go to university as more ability to do so was coupled with parents who wanted their children to take advantage of the opportunities that they never had.

Millennials want to forge their own path and many, who still want a career, want to do it without a university education.

Writing in the Financial Post, Mandy Gilbert, CEO of Toronto staffing agency Creative Niche, highlights that the need for a degree has been questioned by the growth of creative and technology sectors.

Gilbert notes that although ‘the professions’ still require a formal education, many employers want something more valuable – innovation and ideas.

She says that alternative learning routes, such as online educational platform Coursera are becoming more popular and can provide employers with the skills they are looking for. Degrees are not all the same, and simply having one does not necessarily mean a good fit for the business.

Meanwhile in the UK, a new report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) focuses on another angle; too many graduates.

The CIPD says that the UK has too many graduates chasing too few high-skilled jobs, meaning that they take roles for which they are over-qualified. It has also led to employers using degrees as a filtering criteria for candidates.

Chief executive Peter Cheese says that going to university may not be the best option for all students: “Our report highlights why young people should think carefully about opting for university when, for example, going into an apprenticeship at 16 or 18 could be a much better choice.”

He is calling for employers to consider their hiring criteria and to examine more routes into the workplace including apprenticeships.

Back in Toronto, Mandy Gilbert’s article in the Financial Post calls for employers to assess a candidate’s “cultural and operational fit” for the business and to acknowledge that “academic credentials are not everything.”
 
  • Jan on 2015-08-25 11:40:29 AM

    Gen X went to university because there were no jobs for them! It was the 80's after all.
    I agree that there are other paths than university but I would still encourage post-secondary with at least a two-year diploma. I think getting trades training in high school as dual credit is a wonderful avenue for students. It is a great way to explore these types of jobs, especially for those that like to work with their hands.

    MOOCs are great, but I think they are more of a supplement to education rather than an alternative to, a way to get specialized knowledge and skills. But going to college or university does teach more than just memorization!

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