Not knowing what you want to do in the future is a common problem among youth, but what if you do know, but just can’t get there? Finding a job in itself can be difficult directly after graduation, but finding a job in your dream industry can be even more so. According to McKinsey & Company, only 55% of the young people who found a job, found one related to their field of study, whereas 25% work in jobs that are not related to their field of study and that they plan to leave soon. However, 70% of youth feel that they will eventually find opportunities to succeed in their desired career. So, what are the challenges stopping them?
- Building a professional network
The number one reason why young people feel they are not achieving their career goals, is building a professional network. It is true that many positions are filled through referrals from current employees, so having a professional network can be beneficial when advancing in a career. However, what are the opportunities that young people have to build their professional networks during their studies?
Many students are told to make a LinkedIn account in the beginning of their studies to start building their networks, but no concrete help is offered to show how they can meet people to advance them in their careers. The empty profiles with only teachers and peers as connections are a sad sight and might even do more harm than good.
Professional connections are made with time, and it is difficult to have a wide network supporting you in the beginning of your career. Educators and industries should work more closely to enable networking between professionals and students so that young people have at least a small network to bounce off of when starting their careers.
- Advancing education credentials
Education is still seen as an important factor to advance one’s career. 67% of youth believe that attending higher education is necessary to be successful. The youth feel very passionate about education and making it better. However, it is not just completing education that they feel will help them get to their dream job, but having the right education.
However, many youth face discrepancies between the education they want to achieve and their financial means. An astonishing 69% say that the education they want to have is inaccessible to them financially.
Gaining skills is one thing, but getting accredited for your skills is a complete other. So how can we make education better and more accessible to everyone?
- Access to new career opportunities
The third challenge (tied at 35% with education) is simply the access to new career opportunities. With no link between education and industry, graduates spend long times looking for a job – any job. About 27% of employed new graduates take more than six months to find their first job. This might be because young people don’t know where to learn about open job opportunities, how to showcase their learnings and experience, or just because they are missing some key skills.
Another important aspect youth feel would help them to advance in their careers is on-the-job experience. However, it is difficult to gain such experience without the access to the jobs. There is a huge need for more practical opportunities for young people, such as internships and apprenticeships. Young people prefer to learn by experience, but there just simply are not enough opportunities for everyone.
These are the top three things the youth feel are stopping them from achieving their career goals. Do you agree?5