According to a recent Career Builder Survey, 68 percent of employers have job openings they can’t fill, and nearly 60% have roles that sit unfilled for twelve weeks or longer.
This isn’t a new trend. In fact, we’ve written about it before. But here’s the good news: the fact that it’s still an issue means there’s a big opportunity here.
You can sharpen your focus on job readiness to set yourself apart. Use the tips in our first post, and add these to your thought process:
Consider what’s going on in the labor market.
We know that desired job skills change with time. Educational programs should keep up. By understanding what’s in demand now and in the future, you can evaluate your offer against it. Add, evolve, and phase out programs accordingly on an annual basis. Keep a close watch on what’s happening in your region specifically. What jobs are the employers in your area always recruiting for? Are those needs you can fill?
Examine industry credentials, like certifications. When you check your content against the criteria of credentials, you’ll be setting students up to more easily obtain them. That can make students more hirable immediately.
Salary data is important too. Take a look at what the jobs your graduates are getting. Do they pay competitive salaries? Place emphasis on the programs that do and consider phasing out the ones that don’t.
And don’t forget skills that are always relevant, like customer service, teamwork, and communication. One of our clients recently added soft-skills training in industrial courses and saw an increase in placement rates.
A few sources we’ve found helpful:
- Bureau of Labor Statistics employment projections (the Classic)
- O*Net Online has the KSAs that employers are looking for to help you make sure programs are meeting industry needs
- Find even more at the Career One Stop Toolkit
Create networking opportunities.
Bringing together students and employers not only gives students a greater chance of finding employment, but it also helps them bolster their soft skills. Common activities include:
- Mentoring programs
- Alumni/student events
- Job fairs
- Student chapters of professional organizations
- Student conferences
- Job-related meetups
You’re probably already doing some version of at least one of the above. Is there a way to make it bigger to connect even more people?
All in all, unfilled jobs cost employers hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. If your institution can help alleviate that, you’ll earn trust and loyalty from area businesses, gainful employment for students, and a well-deserved reputation.