When it comes to workforce readiness, students are building the skills today that will help them enter tomorrow's competitive job market.

5 insights on workforce readiness


Students are building the skills today that will help them enter tomorrow's competitive workforce

Key points:

Higher ed is critical in helping students build the skills and experience necessary for workforce readiness. Students build in-demand skills and contribute to a workforce that benefits from these new skills and competencies.

But today’s workforce evolves rapidly, and recent research reveals that an alarmingly small number of students felt prepared to enter the workforce.

Here’s a look at workforce readiness trends in higher education:

What is critical to our workforce?

STEM education is critical to the nation’s workforce. It’s vital for the broader tech industry to take action and increase access to STEM education. While there has been a 62 percent growth rate in STEM education and degrees earned across the board in terms of race, gender, and ethnicity in the United States within the past decade, more work still needs to be done when it comes to encouraging women and underrepresented groups to pursue careers in STEM fields. In fact, today, women only make up 35 percent of the STEM workforce, while all underrepresented groups represent 24 percent, and people with disabilities account for a mere 3 percent. In a study that explores teachers’ views on the impact of STEM education on the labor market, the results indicate that STEM education supports increased job opportunities, which in turn yields higher economic growth. Unemployment rates and the associated social costs of unemployment are lower among STEM education graduates. Additionally, the study implies that those who receive STEM education become curious and engaged learners and develop a sense of entrepreneurship that creates new career possibilities.

What does it mean to be job ready?

Colleges must intentionally teach critical-thinking skills. To prepare students for post-graduate success, critical thinking skills and other workplace readiness skills must be woven into all aspects of instruction. AI is–rightfully–drawing a lot of attention in higher ed. And as the workplace becomes increasingly automated, the leadership team at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School has come to understand that Mays students had better be imbued with more than rote knowledge and technical business skills. They must become good thinkers. More to the point, they must become critical thinkers. Reacting to what employers increasingly say they are seeking in new hires, and with the understanding that instructors previously hadn’t been intentional enough about teaching and measuring critical thinking, Mays has been highly focused on strengthening pedagogy for the past four years.

How do you determine job readiness?

Universities must continuously implement new tactics to grow learners’ in-demand workplace skills and competencies. To equip students with in-demand job readiness skills for their future paths, institutions need to better align curricula with current and future industry trends. According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2023, 44 percent of workers’ core skills are expected to change in the next five years. Educating students on comprehensive knowledge and skills that align with growing workforce needs will more positively benefit learners throughout their careers.

What is the meaning of job readiness?

Higher ed must help students build critical success skills. There is growing demand for specific success skills, which are associated with higher earnings, adaptability, and career progression. Communication, teamwork and problem-solving are career readiness examples and are clear priorities among success skills that employers seek, according to a new report by the Southern Regional Education Board. Success skills–sometimes called soft, durable, non-technical or employability skills–are personal qualities that advance careers and increase productivity. 

What is proof of readiness for a job?

Campus career centers are a boon to women pursuing tech jobs. College career services can help level the playing field for women in general–and, in particular, for women pursuing tech careers. Women pursuing careers in the technical fields can benefit from taking advantage of the services provided by their campus career center, according to a joint study conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) and Break Through Tech, an initiative of Cornell Tech. The study, detailed in “The Impact of Career Services on Women Pursuing Tech Careers,” examines the current landscape for women pursuing careers in technical fields and what can be done to improve outcomes for women, including a focus on work readiness examples.

Sign up for our newsletter

Newsletter: Innovations in K12 Education
By submitting your information, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Laura Ascione

Oops! We could not locate your form.

IT Campus Leadership

Your source for IT solutions and innovations to support campus-wide success. Weekly on Wednesday.

  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Please enter your work email address.
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.