University graduates and young professionals across the globe are facing a growing crisis when it comes to employment. Upon graduation, many are finding they lack the required skills to acquire ideal employment in their chosen fields, and even more are discovering the challenge of progressing from entry-level positions up the corporate ladder.
In January 2017, the United States Federal Reserve Bank of New York released eye-opening economic research on The Labor Market for Recent College Graduates in the U.S. While the overall unemployment rate was in line with federal unemployment rates, the overall underemployment rate was at a shocking 45.1%, implying that nearly half of recent graduates in the U.S. are finding that their university degrees are not preparing them for the jobs they desire. Unfortunately, the U.S. is not alone.
For countries across the globe, today’s employment landscape has been majorly impacted by two factors: globalization and the rapid development of new technologies. Globalization has made it so markets are increasingly less segmented by national and cultural boundaries, and competition is fierce for both businesses and prospective employees. To remain competitive, young professionals must find ways to stand out, despite their limited skills. Additionally, employers are placing an increased value on knowledge of international business concepts and cross-cultural understanding.
Similarly, the near-constant emergence of new technologies places an additional burden on young professionals to reliably educate themselves. This is challenging for many recent graduates who are just starting the process of exploring the range of opportunities before them. Across nearly every sector, corporations are in search of a younger generation of employees who will remain on the cutting edge of these types of advancements, and unfortunately, most academic institutions are failing to keep up in their efforts to prepare their graduates.
Understanding the Limits of Traditional Education
By their nature, universities and other traditional educational institutions are rooted in policy and procedure. While this supports a long-standing and reliable establishment, it prohibits such institutions from implementing timely changes and remaining nimble enough to accommodate shifts in the needs of the business community. The result is a disconnect between the skills possessed by recent graduates and those desired by companies within our global environment.
This younger generation of professionals not only needs core business skills, but also a thorough understanding of the latest advancements in technology, the international political and economic climate, and the most effective leadership concepts. Many corporations are looking for an understanding of the changing global mentality, which requires insight and perspective far beyond university theory and the basic training of entry level positions.
Leveraging Mentoring to Bridge the ‘Skills Gap’
For relatively inexperienced professionals who are looking to accelerate the development of skills and ideas, a mentoring relationship with a seasoned professional can provide the support necessary to successfully bridge the gap in their skills. In these one-on-one opportunities, mentees grow both personally and professionally by learning the technical, interpersonal, and leadership skills that can only developed through experience.
Upon entering into the workforce, young professionals quickly discover that business success is often about who you know. Through mentoring relationships, these future leaders are able to expand their network to include established business leaders who continue to offer wisdom and insights for years to come.
Whether a mentoring program is established at the university level to prepare upcoming graduates for their future roles or within an organization to create a smoother onboarding experience, they are a powerful tool to help young professionals explore new ideas, learn any missing skills, and maximize their workplace satisfaction.
How MENTOR can help
MENTOR helps organizations to leverage the benefits of mentoring and coaching, by taking full ownership of these learning programs, including program planning and management, mentor / coach sourcing and matching with trainees, and learning progress monitoring and measurement. Read more about our mentoring and coaching programs.
We also integrate digital tools that makes it easier for administrators to manage and track these programs while helping participants to communicate and collaborate online. Learn more about our mentoring and coaching app.