Are universities becoming obsolete? The long studies, the high investments, and the low return. Colleges might soon be irrelevant for most careers. While lawyers and doctors will continue to sweat in books and in dusty classrooms, for most people, the future is not in college.
The investment for the next generations will be on “eduployment.” A new word for a new era in the workplace. The term comes from Scott Belsky, the chief product officer of Adobe. In a recent article for Business Insider, Belsky predicted the eight biggest tech trends of 2021.
His word “eduployment” included. What does this term mean? Behind the perhaps difficult to spell word, there is an even more complicated trend.
The hard truth behind eduployment
It was all born from one realization: university studies rarely prepare for the real world. Students choose their majors based on interests and convenience, but often they don’t find a job waiting for them. Families get indebted for decades and they barely see the return.
More and more often, students are asking themselves, “was it worth it?”
Emsi is a nonprofit labor market data company that focuses on study-work research. In 2019, Emsi studied American graduates who chose six of the most popular college degrees: languages and philosophy, the social sciences, business, communications, engineering, and IT.
The company’s goal was to see how they did after graduation. Rob Sentz is the chief innovation officer at Emsi and the report’s co-author.
“We see something that looks much more ‘real’ people moving in the market based on a complex web of factors, changing over time, finding their way and adapting as they go,” he said in an interview with Inside Highered, “the six majors were not totally deterministic, but not totally irrelevant to career pathways.
What does this mean? That the universities didn’t prepare these students for the real world. They knew the theory, but not how to behave in the workplace. Or what businesses were looking for.
Adobe’s own Belsky has realized this hard truth. If colleges don’t equip the future generations to be the next workforce, then “eduployment” institutions will. In his article, he mentions two companies: Nana and Main Street. The former focuses on appliance repair while the latter focuses on starting a painting business.
They train their students for real and practical work, instead of the abstract theory. These companies also teach soft skills, which are important for any career, for a surgeon as well as for a dishwasher. They include:
- Time management
- Creative thinking
- Conflict resolution
Examples of the new eduployment trend
More and more companies are facing the hard truth: colleges don’t prepare candidates.
The former President of the United States Barack Obama understood the gap between education and employment. That’s why he created the initiative TechHire. The idea started from a simple revelation: in the unemployment world, the IT sector accounted for 12 percent of open jobs. One of the biggest American industries with the most openings.
Obama started TechHire as a multi-sector initiative with one goal: helping people land these jobs. How? By training students with traditional methods such as college courses. The real change was in the non-traditional course, like boot camps. Students didn’t need to fall into debt for higher education. They could just invest into dedicated (and shorter) programs like coding classes and system analysis.
In 2017, the baking company created a developer academy for recent graduates. The program lasted six months and it included classes on learning skills and business processes. The engineers of the company taught recent graduates how to function in a real-world bank. They had to understand the culture as well as the job.
This way, they will be successful. Their university degree often didn’t teach them how to behave in a bank or how to live by its values.
More and more companies give their young hires boot camps and training programs before putting them to work. These businesses aim at modeling employees for the role, degree aside.
As the Wall Street Journal reports, “[employers] say it allows them to recruit from a broader group of potential hires by dropping lengthy experience requirements in favor of sharpening young talent in-house.”
These training sessions were the predecessors of eduployment. Before Adobe’s chief product officer Belsky created the term, some companies had already identified the issue. Now it’s time to solve it.