Random Thoughts

Millennials and the Job Market

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Now HiringThere is a great article over at Mashable titled: Why Can’t Millennials Find Jobs? That as I read it I kept shaking my head and thinking about schools, education and where this is all going.

What I want to do is add my own thoughts to the research the article points to.

66% not ready for workplace

This is what companies are thinking? That our universities are producing graduates that are not prepared for the modern workplace? Why doesn’t this come as a surprise to me? It should…I should be, I don’t know, upset maybe? Kids going to school going 10s of thousands of dollars in debt for companies to say they are not prepared.

You see the work force has changed.

Of course many say it is this generation. That they feel entitled to having a job….yet

Pew Research Study shows Millennials are not entitled; rather, having a high-paying job is low on their list of priorities, underneath both helping others and being a good parent.

But the one to me that I think is the easiest fix that K-12 can help with is this:

84% have not created a professional website or other positive online content which would improve online search results for their name. If you’re unaware how potential employers will perceive you online, try out Abine’s Hireability Calculator.

Why is this? Why are students finished with 16+ years of education and this has slipped through the cracks? Simple….we never had to worry about it before. Before the Internet you were hired based on the resume you created and the interview you gave. There was no Google, Facebook, Twitter. You weren’t expected to have a professional website. Times have changed and are we preparing students to go out into the work force whether it be after high school or after college and compete in a competitive market? This screams to me once again why Facebook should be open in schools, why a graduation requirement for every senior should be to have a digital portfolio that is public on the web and controlled by them. We have been creating portfolios for years in education. Flipping the switch, moving it online and making it public is not that difficult. It means looking at things differently. It means understanding that the paper resume I practiced writing in business class all those years ago should be replaced (please tell me it has been!). A resume is nothing compared to the power of the Internet. Let’s teach kids how to use it for good.

My favorite part of this article is it ends with three openings on the Mashable Job Board.

Social Media Specialist
Social Media Producer
Digital Markering Internship

Have a read of those jobs and others on the board and tell me the educational system we have in place today is preparing students for these jobs. Only 1 of the 3 jobs listed here requires a bachelor’s degree, all of them required social-networking skills and all of them list skills that could easily be taught to high school students. The jobs of tomorrow are here how have our educational institutions changed to keep up with the new job market? What is your school doing to prepare students for anyone of these or the 144 other jobs currently open on the Mashable Job List.

I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


  1. This information is new to me and an eye opener. I think it’s hard for teachers to help students create online digital footprints when we’re stumbling along ourselves in this regard. I have an advantage with my PLN to show me but I keep on thinking about all the teachers I know who have no idea how much the world has changed. I had someone help me with my résumé this past spring and the advice was still the 2 pg resume on white paper. Same format as when I started 2o yrs ago.

    I think the resume of the future is going to be a project portfolio.

    • Jeff Utecht Reply

      Agree on all accounts. The world has changed and as education has focused tunnel vision almost on standards and testing the world changed and is changing. Why do we teach resume writing when I can follow a template reformatted perfectly for me off the web? Again…the paper resume matters enough to get people interested to look at me online. Hence the reason on my resume my website is the first thing I put.

      • That is a good point about putting my blog and maybe Twitter handle on my résumé . I haven’t done that. I guess I kept on thinking they would google my name. The digital footprint thing was for when they googled my name. I never thought about inviting them to my blog. I guess I am still not too confident about how I am represented digitally…

        Thanks to Coetail, I have a blog to show them. Otherwise, it’s kind of hard to whip one up!

        Someone Tweeted that teachers without technology skills will be replaced by those who do. In the International School setting, it is already a requirement to have 1:1 skills and experience. So ,that blog is going to be an essential part of our résumé.

  2. Hi Jeff. Thanks for highlighting this article. I too find it interesting that 66% of hiring managers don’t believe college grads are ready for the workforce, but I wonder why this is? Is it because the grads don’t have the specific skills required for the job (like heart surgeon or civil engineer)? Or because they feel the students don’t have the attributes to learn the skills required for the job (like being a good communicator/collaborator and being able to research quickly and effectively)? Maybe in the end it doesn’t really matter, but I think these are two distinct issues.

    I also think it is interesting that the companies would rather hire people with experience for “entry-level” positions. Is this because there are so many underemployed workers with experience that the companies can afford to offer them entry-level money? Or because the new grads are so woefully prepared that they company would rather spend the extra money?

    • Jeff Utecht Reply

      I think it’s a bit of everything you mention. The amount of computer engineering jobs that are open on the Mashable job board is crazy…so those I would say would be students who don’t have a specific skill requirement. AKA finishing college without the right degree. As for the other jobs that don’t require a degree like many of the social marketing jobs I think it’s a bit of not having the knowledge and the attributes to learn the skills required for the job.

      I do think you hit on something with there being over qualified people willing to take entry-level jobs but at the same time some of these jobs have been posted for months and have yet to be filed which would tell me that isn’t the case….and probably more a case that the people with the skills and attributes to learn those skills aren’t out there.

      I wonder if you or I would apply for some of these jobs do you think we would qualify? I look at some of these with requirements of “understanding social media” and think you or I could do that and we could teach it to others….cause we do.

      I think there are a lot of things at play here and it’s not an easy fix…but there are jobs in America to be had and people not trained to do them.

      • Wouldn’t it be interesting to approach one of these jobs as an undercover reporter? You could apply and either way it goes it would be interesting. If you did get the job you could find out first hand what they are looking for and then educate the rest of us on how to educate our students. So, if you decide you need something more on your plate, there is an idea.

    • That’s a very interesting article, Jesse. I only have two experiences with graduate studies. It’s been 20+ years since I was last in university. One of my experiences is with Coetail and it has all the qualities that we need for the future (from ourselves as professionals studying and as pedagogy for our students as we prepare them for the real world). It fulfills the right-hand side of your chart that lists: “Creativity, Passion, Initiative, Critical Debate, Public Presentation” as necessary skill-sets for graduates.

      The other experience I had with graduate studies—in a famous UK university–was pretty depressing for me.

      Both were/are online courses. The UK one seemed stuck in the past, and was little changed from what university was like, 20 years ago, for me. Unfortunately, it was minus the personal contact and interaction because it was an online course. My main task was to read literature, research and to summarize it. I wasn’t really supposed to put forth any personal opinions unless heavily supported and footnoted by other established scholars. I would be penalized for injecting personal opinions actually.

      If I was a young undergrad, I wouldn’t have blinked an eye but would have jumped through the hoops in order to get that paper degree at the end. As a graduate student (whose furthering her education by her own choice), I expected a little more “out of the box” thinking and room to explore (from the university and from myself). I’ve decided to not continue with the UK university but to transfer the credits to SUNY (which gives graduate credits for Coetail).

      Anyway, I wrote a blog post about the two experiences: http://www.coetail.com/chezvivian/2013/03/12/i-failed-at-spelling-anachronism-while-in-university/

      The blogpost is opinion-based on my personal experiences with both. I hesitate to paint all universities with the same paintbrush as I really don’t know if what I experienced with disappointing course is typical. My hunch tells me it is. I read news articles indicating that enrolment is falling in universities. It’s no wonder then.

  3. If you ever decide to start your own school, Jeff, why not go all the way and start your own university? or whatever you want to call it for the high school graduates? I’m not joking. I have no idea what the logistics would be (I’ve been a part of the pioneering team for two International Schools…possibly a third this coming year so I have an idea about schools, but not for university.) If universities are failing at adapting, why not do it “right” from the ground up and show them how it should be done?! Just thinking aloud… 🙂

  4. Vivian,

    I recall a conversation I had with my undergraduate project supervisor back in the dark ages. We were bemoaning the ills in Higher Education, and I asked him – as the system gets worse and worse, what do you think will happen? He said simply that he had faith in academia. Once things reached a certain point, a bunch of academics would band together and start over again doing what academics at universities have done best over our thousand year history – teach students. Maybe we’re getting close…

  5. Well, there ya go, Jeff! You have the OK from someone teaching in Higher Education (Jesse) and someone starting out as a student in Higher Education (myself).

    Sometimes, instead of trying to reform something, it’s better to start from the ground-up again. It looks the breaking-point, as Jesse predicted, has already been reached. I’m not even sure we should call it “university” anymore. There’s got to be a better term, that’s not loaded with our pre-conceived ideas of what higher education is supposed to look like. Food for thought…

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