Work experience, not college, prepared employees for jobs, study finds

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Dive Brief:

  • Nearly half of workers (46%) don’t think higher education prepared them for their current jobs, according to a survey released Nov. 8 by online learning platform Go1. Sixty-one percent of the 3,000 full-time office workers surveyed in Australia, the U.S. and the U.K. said work experience was the best preparation for their positions, followed by formal on-the-job training and life experience. 
  • Half of the respondents said they wish they had known how to handle career progression prior to entering the workforce. Employees also said they wish they had better understood the fundamentals of the role and how to collaborate across departments. 
  • Sixty-six percent of those surveyed said learning and development opportunities make or break their decision to take a job or stay at a company, and 73% said their current employer provides L&D options that meet their needs, the survey found.

Dive Insight:

A number of surveys have identified a disconnect between higher education and job readiness. 

Two-thirds of adults surveyed said colleges are “stuck in the past” and not meeting the needs of today’s students, according to a July 2022 poll by Public Agenda, a nonprofit research organization. 

But the responsibility to prepare students lies at the feet of both colleges and employers, a December 2022 report released by Harvard Business School’s Project on Managing the Future of Work and the American Association of Community Colleges found. Employers need to “more actively partner” with education providers to address the skills gap and better meet their hiring needs, the report found.



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