Sunday, September 25, 2016

Job unready grads from our universities

Used to be employers do not expect fresh graduates to be even remotely job ready and plan to train them. I have often read how in other countries college students fought tooth and nail for the best internships and often they work for no pay as well to burnish their resume in order to land a job when they graduate. Looks like we are getting to that point ourselves.

The title says it all, the TNP story has a totally different slant from my perception. Perhaps the writer is too young to be know what it was like before and could not compare now and then. I don't know enough to tell.

I told my daughter before she started college that universities can be seen as selfish places of learning. Professors teach you not so much to get you job ready but to mold you in their own image as academics. The tiny best qualify but the rest would have to find their own way outside of university upon graduation. This is truest in schools like the Humanities. Degrees leading to professional practice and qualifications fare better and often have professors who had industry experience as well.

Excerpt from the story

The search for the perfect job has been tough for National University of Singapore (NUS) graduate Amelia Low, 23.
The NUS Merit scholar has sent out more than 50 applications since January, gone for 11 interviews, but to no avail.
"I got increasingly worried since graduating in May," said Miss Low, adding: "Some of my friends are in the same situation."
She said: "Applicants with experience are also competing with us fresh graduates for the same jobs, making it even more difficult for us."
The psychology major has taken up a temporary job as a research assistant at NUS.
"I took on this job even though research is something I have not done, but it is still a skill set that can help beef up my resume."
The move to take on a temporary job was suggested by her father, Mr Low Boon Leong, 54, a business development manager.
"The temporary job will keep her going and give her the flexibility to look out for other options," he said.
"As a parent, the only way I can help her is to be supportive and give her the confidence to continue applying for other jobs.
"I told her that if she gets a position she doesn't want, she should let it go because her interest in a job matters the most."

"perfect job" I don't know what Amelia Low meant by that but almost nobody has a perfect job. Also things change, it can get better or worse.

"NUS Merit scholar" Employers do not care for anything else other than you are fit and healthy and can contribute to their organization goals. They can't make use of the scholarship. That was why three years ago I told my daughter don't bother with the USP or any NUS scholarship. It is too academic to be useful. Just enjoy the experience.

"research is something I have not done" Well there will be many things you will be doing that you have never tried before. This is the norm now and tomorrow as well.

"I told her that if she gets a position she doesn't want, she should let it go because her interest in a job matters the most."

I felt her father had given her the wrong advice but it is also probably a little late as well. To be realistic you have to pick up something approximating what you want and then give it your personal touch. There are no repetitive factory jobs now and everyone should shape and enjoy their work. Learn to find meaning and like your job. Grow from it and keep changing jobs to keep growing.

To be practical, at the end of the day we are price takers. We cannot control when we were born or the environment that we have to operate in. Be patient about your dreams and hopefully you can find something that head in the general direction of where you hope to be. By making course adjustments along the way, sharpening your vision you are raising the chance of getting there every year.

1 comment:

  1. Well the real truth sucks but the MSM will never accept it. I just saw the recent announcement of the private school survey and how they jot thier jobs later and with lesser starting salary.But the truth is far from it. My sister graduated from NUS the same year as I did. However I took the private path. I did a UCD Honours. WE both applied for jobs and she got lots of interviews including several from the public sector. I got zero from the public sector. Well the truth is I landed a job faster than her because I accepted a lower starting offer from a UK firm which recognized the UCB degree as a triple crown University. 5 years down the road, she is in a stat board with not much prospect but I have become Head of the department because of my hard work which has been recognized. Today I earn about $2500 more than her. So folks take the offer and work hard