Maybe Colleges Can’t Bridge the Skills Gap

Maybe Colleges Can’t Bridge the Skills Gap

A new analysis by CareerBuilder and Emsi finds that colleges aren’t producing enough graduates with the right skills and knowledge to fill shortages in the talent economy:

Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of employers reported that they are concerned about the growing skills gap in the U.S. A new analysis of college degree completions vs. job demand from CareerBuilder and Emsi shows that the next generation of workers won’t be able to fill the void. According to a national Harris Poll survey of more than 2,300 employers, commissioned by CareerBuilder, half (49 percent) of employers have experienced a negative impact on their business due to extended job vacancies with 25 percent reporting a loss in revenue and 43 percent pointing to lower productivity.

To exemplify the current scope and potential exacerbation of an already debilitating talent deficit, data experts at CareerBuilder and Emsi looked at a sample of college programs that aren’t producing enough graduates to keep pace with labor market demand. While the programs highlighted in the study have grown at least 10 percent from 2009-2014 and had at least 10,000 completions in 2014, they’re still undersupplying candidates for occupations that already see big gaps between the number of jobs posted and the number of hires companies make each month.

For example, 157,591 people graduated with degrees in Computer and Information Sciences in 2014, a number that increased 41 percent since 2009. While the growth is encouraging, it’s not enough. On average, from Jan. 2015 to Jan. 2016, 689,685 computer and information technology jobs were posted each month in the U.S. However, the average number of hires was only 209,035 – leaving a gap of 480,650 positions.

Another study in the UK shows that the overall value of a college degree in the job market is diminishing:

CV-Library surveyed over 2,000 UK employees and over 500 leading recruitment experts to uncover the real value of a degree in today’s job market. Interestingly, the results suggest that graduates might not be the skills gap solution as recruiters reveal the value of a degree is declining – in fact, over a half (52%) of recruitment experts admit they wouldn’t bother getting a degree themselves if they were starting out in today’s labour market. Comparing this to data from last year’s research, CV-Library reports a 2% difference, suggesting the value of a degree is declining and could even by obsolete by 2041.

What’s more, 80.9% of recruitment experts admit that degrees aren’t as important as work experience in today’s job market; many recruiters would rather find a candidate with previous experience than one with a degree alone. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise given 74.2% of UK professionals cited the biggest drawback of working with a graduate is that they lack experience and don’t have a fundamental understanding of business.