Many students dream of receiving the best education from prestigious universities, either at home or abroad, with the expectation of a smooth transition from academic life to the industry. However, recent studies have shown that there are significant gaps between university learning and job-ready skills in many countries.
This reality has led to a growing concern among industry professionals, as it affects around 40 to 50 percent of young graduates in the US and OECD countries. Despite the increasing cost of education, the return on investment (ROI) for studying abroad may not always be as promising as expected.
The value of a university degree seems to decrease as more students obtain it, leading to a diminishing boost in earnings due to higher education.
Additionally, many employers now demand college degrees regardless of their actual relevance to the job. This situation creates challenges for both employers and employees. For job seekers, it may result in jobs that pay less than expected, making it difficult to repay student loans or even secure a job offer in the first place.
In the present age of frequent disruptions and dynamic job evolution, the traditional approach of studying abroad and hoping for a job offer is no longer sufficient. The industry is now shifting its focus towards pure skills and talent, providing a platform to showcase them.
Freelancing and Intelligence Scores
Increasingly, students are opting to forgo traditional college degrees in favor of vocational skills, which they learn and refine over time to work independently as freelancers. Companies have started recognizing the value of this new talent pool and prefer to hire freelancers with proven track records for various job profiles.
Research has also highlighted that a candidate’s intelligence score may be a better indicator of their job potential than simply possessing a college degree. For jobs that require constant learning, up-gradation, and critical thinking, candidates with higher intelligence scores tend to outperform those with lower scores, regardless of their educational background.
The Way Forward
As the importance of a college degree decreases, universities are rethinking their approach to bridge the gap between academic learning and intelligent skillsets. While qualifications from a university are still valued by employers, they also consider psychological assessments that demonstrate a student’s learning ability and intelligence. A college degree indicates the coursework studied by a candidate, whereas excellence in an intelligence test reflects the ability to think, learn, and reason logically and argumentatively.
To enhance the value of a college degree, universities need to focus more on imparting critical skillsets that are highly sought after in the workplace, such as problem-solving, communication, collaboration, and emotional intelligence. Employers have identified people skills, high emotional intelligence, empathy, resilience, and integrity as essential qualities in potential hires. Alongside technical skills, recruiters look for growth potential, cultural fit, and adaptability when selecting candidates. Curiosity and a drive to excel are also critical indicators of a candidate’s potential.
merely studying abroad and obtaining a degree is no longer enough to secure a job in today’s competitive job market. A well-rounded approach that combines a college degree with relevant skillsets, including emotional intelligence, communication, problem-solving, and curiosity, will make a candidate more competitive and better suited for job opportunities.