The higher education landscape is rapidly changing, directly tied to the shifting needs of the college and university students. The 2019 Student Survey Report, conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), indicated that “nearly all groups of students cited the opportunity to develop both skills that are applied and specific to the job as the most important attributes” for getting a degree. For many students, enrolling in higher education is no longer about becoming a “more well-rounded, cultured individual” but rather seeing a return on investment after graduating. To receive a return on investment, students are looking to higher education institutes to provide adequate career preparation in addition to “marketable skills and an integrated, interdisciplinary education and real-world experience.” This shift in the needs of students is a response to current trends in the job market.
Recent graduates are discovering that having a degree does not guarantee a job; employers are more interested in what specific skills graduates possess. Emily Poague, Vice President of Marketing at LinkedIn Learning, said in an interview, “What you learned in school will not carry you through your career, making it vital to invest in yourself and build the skills you need for the future of work.” Poague specifically noted that the top five soft skills companies are looking for today are “creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability, and time management.” Some of the top hard skills employers are looking for included data visualization, data modeling, and web analytics.
As hiring becomes more skills based, universities will need to adapt to meet the needs of their students. Work and learn models—such as co-ops, internships, extracurricular activities and heads-on projects—are a natural way for colleges to better engage students and accelerate their career development. While these techniques help develop soft and hard skills, students also need the right guidance and tools to document, communicate, and apply them in the work force.
Symplicity UniHub is designed to support an institution-wide approach to skills development. UniHub connects students to university opportunities which translates into desirable skills that today’s employers desire. UniHub adoption is critical for creating a unified campus experience. By providing a collaborative environment between teams and departments across the institution, students benefit from a single engagement marketplace resulting in a full view of all student interactions at a university level.