Even though it’s common that people with a degree, diploma, or some form of tertiary education earn more money than those without, it has become more and more prevalent that people don’t necessarily end up working in their field of study – or for very long, for that matter.
There are plenty examples of doctors going into the entertainment industry, teachers becoming software programmers, or engineers becoming teachers.
A research article on Brookings, gives an interesting example of which career paths psychology majors take after graduating. It mentions that psychology graduates pursue a particularly wide variety of career paths.
- 6% of psychology majors become social workers, the most common profession for the major;
- Following social workers, the most common jobs are counsellors, followed by elementary and middle school teachers, postsecondary teachers, and psychologists.
- Psychology majors still enter many other fields. For example, 2.1% of all psychology majors become physicians or surgeons.
Or, as a graduate with dual degrees in anthropology and Latin American studies, who never used his degrees, said: “You leave with an anthropology degree, and what hard skills are you leaving with that are immediately transferable? The reality is, I don’t know a lot of people who would hand you a business card that says, ‘Anthropologist.'”
Easier said than done
Currently, the world over, finding a job is easier said than done. This, on the one hand, has led to people simply finding a job to find a job as employers are all the more concerned about experience in a working environment, whether a graduate can learn the ropes fast, and whether they will fit into the company culture than a person’s specific degree.
On the other hand, it has led to many graduates having to innovate and become entrepreneurs if they can’t pin down a traditional job after graduating. Many Generation Y’s are choosing lifestyle entrepreneurship above traditional jobs as this allows them a career that matches preferred lifestyle values and activities, rather than arranging their lives to accommodate a career.
South Africa, with its unique challenges, is currently sitting with an unemployment rate of 27.7%. With this, as well as artificial intelligence, machine learning and the fourth industrial revolution moving at such a rapid pace, many people are starting to get even more worried about the future of jobs.
Robots could likely in future replace GP’s thanks to intelligent programs and algorithms that can narrow down and identify within microseconds ailments by simply listening to a patient’s symptoms.
Is education today still relevant in future?
The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report 2016 states that by 2020 creativity will become one of the top three skills employees will need.
This is also where soft and hard skills come into play. According to an article on TrainingMag.com, “hard skills are specific, teachable abilities that include technical proficiencies and are easily defined and measurable. You usually obtain a degree or diploma when you have these skills, such as software programmer, mathematician, accountant, tool-and-die maker, forklift driver, etc.”
Young people will, however, need to develop very particular skills to be able to keep their jobs from being taken over by automation future, namely “soft skills”: a suite of attributes that include social abilities like networking, communication, negotiation, team-building and problem-solving, active listening, interpersonal skills, knowing how to recognise people, and demonstrating caring concern. There is no degree or diploma for soft skills.
In the end, whatever degrees, doctorates, qualifications, experience or technical skills future graduates may have, employers cannot necessarily count on them having the soft skills that will be required as soon as they walk through the door. And that is an important thing to keep in mind.
Amcomms is an award winning agency with their roots firmly grounded in recruitment advertising and employer branding. They understand the art of crafting the right message to attract the right candidates. They are also placement experts on various recruitment media platforms.
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