Over the past few weeks, graduation ceremonies have been taking place all over the world. This is an exciting time for everyone in higher education, as institutions and communities recognize their students’ academic achievements.
While every guest speaker will laud these graduates’ academic accomplishments, many will also speak of the world that’s waiting for them once they step off of that stage, all with an air of hope and positivity—and also some uncertainty.
Have faculty, administrators and advisors actually prepared these students for the “real world” and aligned programs, degrees and training with the job market? Without diminishing the quality of the academic program, have students made the right choices to fulfill their ambitions and aspirations and begin their contributions to society?
For decades, institutions have made it their missions to improve not just academic outcomes for their students but also career outcomes. Career fairs, services and internships have been a staple of the student experience for decades.
But the reality is that most employers still find graduates lacking essential skills and academic programs lagging behind current needs in a rapidly evolving marketplace. Often, educators find themselves out of sync with the job market.
Enter Big Data
With the amount of real-time data that’s available on the economy and job market online, institutions can now leverage this data to better align programs with workforce needs—and to change or fine-tune academic programs in response to the market.
(Next page: How colleges and universities can use big data to help grads land careers)
Using predictive analytics tools, institutions can align programs and guidance based on a mash-up of data that’s extracted from the student information systems (SIS), CRM, career services and alumni systems, as well as massive amounts of real-time economic, demographic and employment data.
Many students today are seeking relevance from their degrees based on the quality of the experience while studying, as well as on the career opportunities that are available upon completion.
It is important that institutions provide a meaningful way to guide and inform students before they start their academic journeys and as they move to graduation. By integrating big data on job market analytics, SIS put relevant job market analytics into the hands of administrators, advisors and students that match the skills acquired to real-time, contextualized market demand.
Institutions can harness workforce and economic Big Data to improve:
- Skills Alignment – Institutions can align training and education with workforce needs.
- Program Demand – Anticipating workforce needs increases student demand for programs.
In the end, it’s all about making students’ lives and career prospects more certain once they step off of that stage, diploma in hand. Armed with Big Data, institutions, students, parents and prospective employers can feel more confident that academic success will translate into career success.