Bentley University's PreparedU Project: Millennials in the Workplace Infographic Storybook


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  • In the 1980s I had two interesting discussions with a professor and a boss who obtained part of their education in France, and who were born in poorer countries. They both saw this difference between USA and (they said) European education: that the Europeans taught something once and expected they knew it, end of story. The USA schools required you to take similar courses and cover the same material and work a lot more exercises. I am troubled that the Schaum Outlines used by my family for three generations are now offered without worked problems. Also we at Columbia were told that compared to Harvard, we were expected to do (ie learn by constantly reworking problems) rather than speak. I suspect since many of the millenials are children of Reagan-boom immigrants, that they hold such values because of cultural values. ( I am the grandson of someone who learned ornery midwestern ways in the 1910s as an illegal.) Also in the 1990s folks who crammed before an exam, like Clinton, were glorified , over nerds like Dubya who took their school work seriously and took the toughest courses in order to learn instead of getting good grades. At the same point we need to observe who is complaining about the millenials: those who didn't take courses in management seriously but claimed to only study finance, but even that without really going into the math? Those who don't really follow good management techniques and never took them seriously in class?
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  • @BU - No worries and thank you for the kind reply. This 'preparedness' system is quite complex, to the nth degree on so many levels. You have millions of jobs, thousands of schools and colleges, millions of students & millions of 'general population' expected to be 'prepared' for a 'common goal'. The standards and needs differ across the board in both the educational and workforce sectors. Attempting to mesh these 'sectors' together: priceless. Describing the scenario actually reminds me of lean production.

    Slight devil's advocate: Is there now bias between preparing college grads verses general population? The study is mainly about millennial college graduates being prepared? What about the millions of kids who don't go to college? Isn't there supposed to be a page about the General Population perspective around page 13? And the amount of people surveyed was exactly .1% of our population- give or take a couple people?

    Random thought, what's that show? Undercover Boss? Talk about perspective and the personality / skill sets necessary per position / leadership level. Observation: how do you bring all of these imperfect companies with imperfect people on board with a set amount of colleges to 'prepare' future workers?

    I'm not saying it can't be done, but some things can't be developed, prevented or prepared for until they're experienced and learned from. And the 'life-long learners' solution for students should be expected of all four solutions/groups.
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  • Hi Christopher,

    So sorry your original comment was deleted--not sure why that was done, but it certainly wasn't intentional. Thanks for your contribution to the PreparedU conversation.
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  • Two solutions by one university:

    1), Willamette University is launching their PLAN this fall. All students are REQUIRED to complete several vocational and academic activities/assignments and post them in their 4-year learning portfolio beginning their first year. They will explore skills, values, personality, choosing a major, resumes, interviewing, job search, applying to grad school, self-authorship, etc. by their Junior year. This will nudge many of those who in the past tended to procrastinate.

    Second, Willamette will be launching The Passport to Professionalism this summer. It is a series of 10 introductory learning activities that internship and on-campus supervisors can assign to students. They include ethics, initiative, communication, teamwork, etc. Students complete the assignment online, fill in a reflection page, and submit it to their supervisor for further discussion about work culture and expectations. It increases learning and supervisor mentoring.

    Along with faculty, staff and students, Career Services will have a strong role in both programs
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  • This is my original comment that someone removed:

    I will say, I believe one of the biggest 'issues' here is how advanced we have become in recent years and how much of that knowledge is expected of youngsters who come to work. Pair that scenario to how many small businesses (just one of many situations), especially fabrication/manufacturing, need people who can 'do it all' to save money on training, mistakes, paying for purchased new tech and the 'widely defined' preparedness gap. A lot of the stats lead me to believe that it's the college world's job to give jobs as soon as you finish. Further, perfect jobs, because it's expected to be the best fit and not a basic/entry position, because that might be viewed as 'lowly'. I could certainly be wrong about the stats, but it is very much a driver in our workforce today, similar to the status quo of owning an envied new car, and I believe it is very unrealistic.
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Bentley University's PreparedU Project: Millennials in the Workplace Infographic Storybook

  1. 1. OVERVIEW Millennials are expected to compose the largest workforce in U.S. history. But are they prepared? In October 2013, Bentley University commissioned KRC Research to conduct the Millennial Preparedness Study to define the preparedness gap that millennials face in today’s workplace. Insights from the study—which represents the single most comprehensive survey on millennial preparedness in the workplace—are helping inform the PreparedU Project, a collaborative, dialogue-driven initiative that seeks solutions to the preparedness gap. SHARE
  2. 2. THE RESEARCH Do millennials feel prepared for their first job and career? Is the higher education model successfully preparing graduates with the skills and experience they need to be workforce-ready? What is the business community’s role in shaping millennials’ success? There’s an apparent preparedness gap between students, employers, and higher education. That’s why we launched the PreparedU Project and partnered with KRC Research to develop this groundbreaking study, which included: KRC Research conducted 3,149 interviews among nine unique audiences. Fieldwork took place between October 17 and October 25, 2013. The survey was conducted online and took an average of twenty-nine minutes to complete. The margin of sampling error for the total sample is +/- 1.75 percent at the 95 percent confidence level, and is larger for the 9 audience sub-groups. SHARE
  3. 3. DEFINING PREPAREDNESS The preparedness gap exists in part because there is no common definition about what preparedness is—and that gap is most evident between businesses and students. HOW IS IT DEFINED? WHAT IS PREPAREDNESS? “Preparedness means having the skills-based knowledge necessary to do the job, but also the discipline, maturity, and social skills necessary to succeed.” BUSINESS DECISIONMAKER 24% PARENT OF A COLLEGE STUDENT “Having prior work experience is a must. Helps the individual gather a work ethic, learn to work with others, and with time management.” EDUCATION 23% SKILLS 17% PERSONAL TRAITS 16% 15% “A prepared graduate would come out of college prepared to learn and play their part of the team.” PARENT OF A HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT EXPERIENCE WORK ETHIC 10% SHARE OTHER
  4. 4. MEET THE STAKEHOLDERS Each participant had their own story to tell. Each has a unique perspective. BUSINESS DECISION-MAKERS Those with hiring influence for businesses CORPORATE RECRUITERS Those who actively recruit employees HIGHER ED INFLUENTIALS Those who influence curriculum in higher education PARENTS OF STUDENTS Those with one or more children who are currently enrolled in a four-year accredited college or university and parents of high school juniors or seniors COLLEGE STUDENTS Those who currently attend an accredited four-year college or university HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS Those who are currently a junior or senior RECENT COLLEGE GRADUATES Those who graduated within the past five years GENERAL POPULATION Americans over the age of 18 SHARE
  5. 5. BUSINESS DECISION-MAKERS say work ethic is part of the definition of preparedness. Co-Founder, Chief Creative Optimist, Life is good of business decision-makers give colleges and universities a “C” or lower on preparing recent college grads for their first jobs. half than more 61% One in five BDMs include personal traits as part of the definition of preparedness. 41% of business people give even the grads they have hired a grade of “C” or lower on being prepared. SHARE
  6. 6. 61% RECRUITERS of corporate recruiters give recent college graduates a “C” on preparedness for their first jobs. say hard and soft skills are equally important for success in the work force. Only 9 percent give them an “A.” Recruiter, Hollister Staffing 68% say that it’s difficult for their organization to manage millennials. 62% Six in 10 say they wish students had developed more soft skills in college. say that retaining millennials is an issue for their organization. SHARE
  7. 7. HIGHER ED INFLUENTIALS 62% give recent college grads a “C” or lower on preparedness for their first job, the fourth highest of any audience. Nine in 10 of higher ed influentials agree it’s possible for colleges and universities to increase efforts to help prepare students for their first job without harming education quality or raising tuition. Higher education should provide quantifiable outcomes, such as high job placement, graduation rate and job retention rate. % AGREE Recent College Students 80% High School Students Professor, Bentley University 78% Parents 76% Corporate Recruiters 73% Business Decision-Makers 71% Higher Ed Influentials 64% SHARE
  8. 8. Four in 10 strongly agree and 87 percent strongly or somewhat agree that parents should encourage their children to take business courses because they teach skills applicable to any career. 62% PARENTS of parents of college students believe the education and preparation that their son or daughter is gaining is worth the cost. 38 percent disagree. 29% of parents of college students give their own child in college a “C” or below. Father of a high school student 63% of parents of high school and college students give recent grads a grade of “C” or lower on preparedness for their first jobs. SHARE
  9. 9. of college students give recent college graduates a grade of “C” or lower. COLLEGE STUDENTS of millennials believe that older generations don’t understand them. 41 percent of college students give a grade of “C” or lower to colleges and universities on how well they are preparing recent college graduates for their first job. Student, Berklee College of Music Student, Boston College of college students are confident that graduating from college is a sign that someone is prepared to enter the work force. SHARE
  10. 10. HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS agree that it’s the role of higher education to provide outcomes like job placement. Three in four agree that a college diploma is a sign that someone is likely to be successful in his or her first job. Student, Medford High School agree that a skills assessment test would be useful to help figure out their college major and career path. feel a college degree guarantees success in life. SHARE
  11. 11. RECENT COLLEGE GRADS 75% agree that it’s the role of higher education to provide outcomes like job placement. Nearly four in 10 recent college graduates grade their OWN level of preparedness as a “C” or lower. College Graduate, St. Michael’s University of recent college graduates say that unpreparedness is a real problem among their own cohort. Recent college graduates blame their lack of preparedness on: 60% Themselves 42% Their Colleges & Universities Their High School 18% Their Parents 15% Businesses 13% SHARE
  12. 12. SOLUTIONS How can students, parents, higher education and businesses work together to close the gap? It’s a team effort, after all. Using research from the Bentley Preparedness Study, we explore four possible solutions to bridging the preparedness gap. SHARE
  13. 13. 16 SOLUTIONS WERE TESTED AGREE DISAGREE Students must commit to being life-long learners both inside the classroom and beyond. 94% 6% College learning must incorporate and blend together academics and hands-on learning. 94% 6% Colleges need to incorporate cutting-edge technology throughout their campuses to familiarize their students with the latest tech capabilities 90% 10% Colleges & universities must improve career services by understanding what business look for in internships, resumes, cover letters, and interviews. 87% 13% Parents should encourage their children to take business classes because they teach skills that can be applied to any career. 86% 14% Colleges and universities need to work harder at defining proper fit for applicants via counseling and/or skills and interests testing. 85% 15% Business professionals enter the classroom as lecturers to impart their real-world expertise to students. 85% 15% Career services must begin freshman year of college for all students. 85% 15% SHARE
  14. 14. 16 SOLUTIONS WERE TESTED AGREE DISAGREE Colleges and universities need to develop and implement more programs to encourage women to pursue business education & leadership opportunities. 84% 16% Students must realize that a combination of business skills and arts and sciences will help them land jobs and advance throughout their career. 84% 16% Internships need to be mandatory for students in order to gain real-world experience. 82% 18% Businesses should work with colleges/universities to update and revise business curriculum. 78% 22% Students must prepare to be “prepared” by beginning their college career — on Day One — with a clear set of goals and objectives for their education. 74% 26% Colleges and universities need to integrate liberal arts and business courses into a single curriculum. 70% 30% Business classes should be mandatory in all colleges and universities for all majors. 65% 35% More students should go to graduate school to become more prepared for their FIRST JOBS and their careers. 61% 39% SHARE
  15. 15. SOLUTIONS ROLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION Colleges and universities need to combine academics with hands-on learning and technology. PROFESSOR PERSPECTIVE SOLUTIONS IN ACTION Colleges Need to Help Kids Hit the Ground Running Internships: Career 101 Training agree that college learning must incorporate and blend together academics and hands-on learning. “Higher education should ensure that graduates have problem solving and communication skills, and strive to instill critical thinking and responsible citizenship.” of higher education influentials strongly agree and that they are a part of the solution. Professor, Bentley University SHARE
  16. 16. SOLUTIONS ROLE OF PARENTS Parents should play an active role in encouraging their children to take business classes. SOLUTIONS IN ACTION Reasons Why You Should Consider Business Degrees For Your Child Prep Your Kids For A Life of Change 85% PARENT PERSPECTIVE “It’s one thing to educate a child with facts and figures. I am trying to teach my son to seek understanding— use rational thinking, ask smart questions and encouragement to challenge himself.” of all respondents strongly or somewhat agree that as a solution, parents should encourage their children to take business classes because they teach skills applicable to any career. Father of a high school student SHARE
  17. 17. SOLUTIONS ROLE OF BUSINESS Businesses should partner with colleges and universities in developing business curricula while imparting “real-world expertise” to students. SOLUTIONS IN ACTION Mazda Works with Students to Improve Customer Experience Ernst & Young Transforms Curriculum to Reflect Industry Trends 87% of total respondants think businesses need to work with higher education to improve career services. BUSINESS DECISION-MAKER PERSPECTIVE Four in 10 Business Decision-Makers agree strongly they should do their part and work with higher education to provide students with realworld advice. “The millennials that we’re hiring today measure and weigh—very heavily— the meaning behind their work, as opposed to the salary, schedule or benefits.” Co-Founder, Chief Creative Optimist, Life is good SHARE
  18. 18. SOLUTIONS ROLE OF STUDENTS Students must commit to being life-long learners both inside the classroom and beyond. SOLUTIONS IN ACTION Commit to Adopting Technology Hard-Won Lessons for Those Starting a Career of students and recent college graduates agree that they are putting the onus on themselves to be prepared. RECRUITER PERSPECTIVE “My advice to students? Work hard, always use good judgment and seek mentorship… be humble, it will pay off.” of higher education influentials strongly agree with this solution. Recruiter, Hollister Staffing SHARE
  19. 19. GET INVOLVED These eight individuals have lent their faces and voices to our project. From college grads to corporate recruiters, each has a unique role in finding solutions to the preparedness gap. While their voices are heard here, yours is just as important. Tell us what preparedness means to you. Here are a few thought starters: Did you feel prepared for your first job after college? What about your career? How does the preparedness problem impact you? What piece of advice would you give to educators as they prepare a new generation for the work force? How can businesses help? JOIN THE CONVERSATION. FOLLOW @BENTLEYU