How universities can overcome the threat of the graduate skills mismatch
The issue of the skills mismatch is more common than you think. Source: Shutterstock

Promising to pair your talent with skill shortages to avoid the growing ‘skills mismatch’, most universities out there aim to prepare you for the ‘jobs of tomorrow’.

A common promise in higher education, it’s only natural for students to expect their chosen course to be desirable and reel in prospective employers.

But what happens when universities are faced with the threat of a skills mismatch?

A term that refers to the student’s level of skill not matching the level required by the job, the issue is a huge concern for colleges and universities.

If the course content isn’t relevant enough to match the job descriptions of today, or if a graduate is deemed under qualified due to the course direction or the professor’s outdated knowledge, it’s unfair to be promising graduates abundant career opportunities.

Studying the skills mismatch

In the most recent Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) report on untapped skills and the skills mismatch in the UK, it was found that nearly half of workers feel mismatched in their roles, with 37 percent being deemed over-skilled and 12 percent under-skilled.

Outlining the fears of ‘over skilled workers’, the report found that they are “less satisfied and nearly twice as likely to want to quit than those in well-matched roles and more likely to say their job offers poor prospects for career advancement, training and skills development.”

To truly gauge the extent of skills mismatching, the report features a few eye-opening quotes from respondents:

“A degree isn’t at all necessary for my job; many people who are senior to me didn’t go to university…(I feel bitter), bitter might be a bit of a strong word, but that is what it is! And regretful I suppose, I could’ve spent more time working on my career and save some money too.”

“When I realised I could never get into a vet school I used my qualifications to get into university to study biology instead, with no real plans, apart from maybe science teaching, when I realised that was also way too hard I finished university with a good but fairly useless degree and fell into this job!”

With disheartening experiences like the ones above, it’s clear that skills mismatches are a common issue for graduates, often unaddressed by schools and universities.

How do universities overcome the skills mismatch?

Regularly updating course curricula is an excellent way for universities to avoid student skills mismatches.

Tailoring the syllabus to suit industry demands and trends shows that a university is progressive and is also paying attention to what’s happening in the world.

Another technique that universities could adopt is increased careers training.

Career counsellors could provide talks on how to manage applications, outline the warning signs of skills mismatching and help students know their worth.

Doing so could ease the skills mismatch and support an influx of satisfied graduates!

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