Millennials are on track to become the most educated generation in history — and the phenomenon is global. The average rate of people completing higher tertiary education in eight of the OECD’s 12 largest economies increased by nearly 10 percentage points between 2000 and 2012, from 27.7% at the start of the millennium to 37.4%.
These figures — explored in Indeed’s Labor Market Outlook 2016 — don’t just illustrate the increase in the number of degrees in the world, but also the large jump in the amount of money people are spending on education. Yet even as people spend more to learn more, the trend does not always result in graduates who are ready for the workplace. In fact, employers often struggle to recruit the talent they need.
Nearly one-third of millennials lack work-related computer skills
In the U.S., 32% of people aged 16 to 29 have no work-related computer experience. This means that even though millennials have grown up on the internet, some may not be developing the tech skills needed in today’s workplaces.
What does this mean for employers? The simple answer is that they will likely need to play a greater role in developing talent.
Traditionally, businesses have supported educational institutions as a means of cultivating skills in the workforce. But while time-honored initiatives such as funding programs and facilities may increase brand awareness among students, their effectiveness as a training tool is difficult to measure.
Meanwhile, 61% of U.S. employers currently offer a form of tuition reimbursement — demonstrating a commitment to continuing education. If employers want to see a workforce with more of the skills they need, then they may need to strengthen that commitment and enact more targeted educational efforts.
New educational models are one way the skills gap is closing
The good news is that today’s rapidly changing educational landscape can provide employers with the tools they need to close the skills gap left by more traditional approaches. For instance, when it comes to fostering needed skills, online learning platforms such as Khan Academy and Codecademy can help employees pick up new talents quickly. Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) like Coursera and Udacity offer courses and certifications in conjunction with employers and academic institutions to make previously exclusive education more accessible.
And for many, this kind of education is leading to employment. Course Report, one provider of online and in-person bootcamps, says that 75% of their graduates report (PDF) going to work in a job that required the skills they learned in their course.
As the concept of online learning has developed, so the range of training on offer has broadened. For instance, the Udemy platform offers not only tech training, but also courses on key business tools such as Excel, useful in so many contexts, but also Google Analytics which is essential for today’s digital marketers.
For generations, high-skill professions have relied on years of undergraduate and graduate education to qualify large swaths of their workforce. But that may all be changing. And as alternative models of education emerge, employers can find their place in the evolving ecosystem. Starbucks College Achievement Plan is one oft-cited example of how education both attracts, retains and develops great talent — a benefit many other employers are working to establish as well.
For more valuable employer insights, download our report Labor Market Outlook 2016: Uncovering the Causes of Global Jobs Mismatch.