Microcredentials – Higher Education’s Path To Remaining Relevant For The Long Haul?

Published by Carrie O'Donnell
on Jul 24, 2019

According to Berson by Deloitte, a leading workforce and talent development consultancy, 57% of jobs are vulnerable to automation and 70% of business leaders believe they need a new mix of talent and skills. Clearly, new skills will be needed in the future for jobs that aren’t even on the horizon today.

For colleges and universities to stay relevant – and for some, to survive – they’ll need to innovate solutions not only around building better degrees, but also around building lifelong relationships with the students they serve.

The expectation of graduating students is that their education has fully prepared them to land a job in their chosen field and equipped them with the skills needed to grow and advance in their career. However, “Leveling Up: How To Win In the Skills Economy”, a 2016 report produced by Payscale, a provider of on-demand compensation data and software, revealed many college graduates are lacking in key hard and soft skills hiring managers feel are critical for success.

At the top of list? Nearly half of all hiring managers surveyed indicated critical thinking/problem solving, communication and leadership are missing in recent graduates’ soft skills repertoires; and 44% felt new graduates lack writing proficiency. Other hard skill deficiencies include data analysis, public speaking and SEO/SEM marketing.

The report also shared the top three skills across 16 major job groups that would garner significant pay boosts for the employee that possessed them. For example, in management occupations, employees with skills in IT risk, SAP Business Intelligence and mergers and acquisitions could see pay increases of 15.8%, 16.1% and 16.5% respectively.

This data represents huge opportunities for higher education. Instead of viewing a degree as an end point in the higher education path, degrees should now be seen as foundational building blocks upon which rich, career-advancing experiences are added. Stackable microcredentials and professional certificate programs are excellent options for former students to continue to evolve their degree and viability in the workforce. From day one, set the expectation that an education should grow with one’s career and then cultivate an environment (and relationship) that fosters this.

Additionally, microcredentials and professional certificate programs help higher education reach beyond the physical campus. Forward-thinking colleges and universities recognize that online learning opens up the door to career-building education with corporations, business organizations and individuals anywhere in the world. Building relationships for the long-term now, means that when the need to upskill, reskill or deep skill in a specific field arises in the future, former and potential students will already know what you offer and can seek out your solutions.

The reality of remaining relevant to a student’s future career is already here and the needs will be great. The question then is will you be ready to meet them?

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