Is Gen Z #Unemployable?

By Dan Merritts
June 22nd, 2015

College and university focus on picking a major may be more of a hindrance than a benefit to today’s graduating students, say business leaders.

graduate-z-jobThe students of Generation Z are a confident group that almost always believe they are ready to take the next step or take on the next task, no matter how prepared they actually are. Whether it’s taking a final exam after one night’s worth of cramming or earning a promotion in their first year, today’s youth truly believe they can get the job done. Gen Z’s confidence about their capability to successfully perform in the workplace upon graduation even trickles down to their educators, as 96 percent of chief academic officers believe their graduates are ready for the workforce.

However, public view of this generation’s preparedness to contribute upon entering the workplace is shockingly different. In fact, only 11 percent of American business leaders agree that students are graduating with the necessary skills and competencies to succeed in the workplace.

So where do business leaders believe colleges and universities are falling short in graduating employable students?

According to business leaders, institutions put too much focus on “picking a major.” Getting a college degree today has been compared to the high school diploma Generation X received, but it is now about much more than the degree or major chosen. Over 90 percent of employers agree that for career success “a candidate’s demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly and solve complex problems is more important than his or her undergraduate major.”

Additionally, 97 percent of C-Suite executives believe higher education programs should expand opportunities for experiential learning and entrepreneurship (89 percent). With entrepreneurial rates well above the dot com bubble 15 years ago and 61 percent of today’s high school students dreaming of being their own employers, the entrepreneurial spirit has reemerged with Gen Z. Given their access to an unlimited supply of information, resources and mentors via the Internet, it’s easy to see why today’s high school students are eager to create their own careers.

To encourage the future success of entrepreneurs and supply American businesses with a more “skilled up” workforce that can hit the ground running upon hiring, the educational landscape needs to be revitalized. Here are three ways educators can adapt teaching models to meet the learning needs/behaviors of this entrepreneurial-minded generation to better prepare them for the workforce or launching their own business.

(Next page: 3 ways to adapt teaching models for Gen Z)

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