Post-graduate employability and the digital skills landscape in higher education.
There is still no shared language or definition across stakeholders about what employability is for students and what it covers.
The recruitment landscape and workplace behaviours have changed, with businesses across all sectors adapting to new challenges. Do we have the data and digital skills in universities to meet the emerging workforce demand post-graduation?
Students from any disadvantaged background do worse in traditional employability metrics. Women are paid less than men as soon as they start their careers. Report for black students – Black Careers Matters. There is a difference between white, middle-class students living in halls of residence and has at least one parent that has gone to university.
Employability can manifest itself into different forms in different institutions. Therefore, lecturers and students in various parts of the UK have contrasting concepts of employability.
Two universities tackling the problems
The University of Bedfordshire held an employability online seminar last month for students about their first career move after graduation, how to best position themselves in the market and what they can do to prepare for the start of their career.
The students at the University of the Arts London also attended an event this month advising them on how to get started on their careers.
Universities and students have different ideas about what skills they need for employability. There is not a mutual understanding about what we mean about skills that can be learned.
For example, IT (Information Technology) is a skill that can be learned, and resilience is a quality – students and employers need to be careful about the different terms.
Half of all employers will need additional technical or job specific skills in the next three years according to a survey by City & Guilds.
Universities can sometimes see data which is valuable in this area as a burden because some of this also feeds into sector performance measures and league table. Universities must be careful about how data is used and be clear that they are trying to support evidence-based, data-driven practice.
Employability impacts more than just universities
54% of employers surveyed by City & Guilds said they face some kind of barrier to meeting skills and talent needs. Data can support and inspire organisations to create a capable, innovative, and diverse workforce, whichever sector.
How have universities used data to evidence all these issues to tackle them? What is going on in the post Covid-19 labour market? How can data be used to support decision making?
Widespread AI (Artificial Intelligence) will have similar effects to the internet, and organisations can see this coming, this time.
For further discussion about the use of data in employability, book your place at the Data Matters conference, at St Paul’s on 25 January 2022. Early bird booking is available until 13 December 2021.