The Fears of the Future Workforce

by Harry Shelton
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While starting a new job at any stage of your career can be intimidating, for those who are leaving education and embarking on their first job it can be all the more daunting. A recent survey examined the thoughts, fears, and expectations of students about to enter the workforce. The findings showed a workforce that although excited and keen to make a difference, felt largely unprepared with a number of strong fears. Read on to find out more.

One of the biggest findings of the study was in relation to student debt. The survey showed that students feel the weight of college debt significantly, with 40% saying it will have a material impact on the profession they pursue. As college fees become more and more expensive and qualifications become less and less valued (as the job market is saturated with qualified graduates) there is a clear fear among students that they need to find a high paying job to repay their debt.

While students largely feel prepared for the academic side of work they feel very uncomfortable with work itself. Most asked for an increase in internships and professional experience options to make them more career-ready. Complex problem solving and workplace technology were the biggest gaps that students felt they couldn’t solve based on their student experience alone. 

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Students did feel that collaboration and communication skills were high as well as time management skills. This comes as little surprise considering a typical college environment. 

Overall only 41% of students surveyed suggested they were well prepared for work life. The number although too low is a marked improvement compared to the previous year when it was as low as 29%. Almost 50% of students reported fear regarding work-life balance once they started their careers and over 50% reported that they had fears of not finding a job that was both fulfilling and enjoyable. It appears that college is not doing enough to satisfy the fear of students and prepare them for the next big step in their development. More partnerships between universities and private enterprises are clearly required to address concerns.

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