Working in the field of employment consulting I’ve seen many changes over the years. Having built relationships with employers from many sectors, I think I have a good handle on their recruitment expectations. Likewise, in coaching individuals on their job search plans, I’m required to get a good feel for their educational, work history and overall employment goals. What I’ve learned is that there is a huge disconnect between both–and with reason.
There is a huge emphasis with this last generation on the importance of acquiring education and credentials; employers (especially small businesses) seem to think that there is an entire generation of young, new graduates lined up waiting to take their minimum wage (or just above) paying jobs without benefits. Employers need to remember that there is an entire cohort of new Canadians just waiting to show their value, as well as mature individuals moving on to a second career.
It seems that employers’ expectation of the new graduate is huge. Academics alone do not provide enough background for an individual new to a business to hit the ground running and create innovative new systems and business growth–perhaps this is where employers could consider a mature worker, with a more diverse background, if that is the case. The perception that new grads have the skills to dabble in marketing, office administration, payroll/accounting, social media and sales–regardless of their academic discipline is unrealistic. Didn’t we all need training and mentoring along the way to get a feel for the business in order to be inspired to grow? Shouldn’t these new grads, at the very least, be able to afford the operational costs of owning a car or being able to pay for a roof over their heads? As a business owner your expectations are high, granted, but invest in your people and they will show you the same respect in return.
New grads, you are no different in your expectations. Somewhere along the way you have received the message that because you are a new graduate with a diploma/degree in hand you can demand a middle management position and salary. Furthermore, many job seekers would like to work for various levels of government to access the salary and benefits that accompany these jobs. Don’t we all! While it is not unreasonable for new grads to land these coveted positions straight out of school, it is generally the shining stars who secure them as they are highly competitive. For those less confident individuals who want to embark on their careers in a more progressive manner, get in on the ground floor with a company who will nurture your strengths and lead you along a career pathway. Those government jobs will present themselves when you have gained the confidence and knowledge necessary to show your value. Never stop learning and invest in yourself along the way.
These preconceived ideas may be the result of antiquated concepts and value systems from years gone by. Once employers and job seekers change their perspectives we can have a more balanced approach to hiring and recruitment.
Is there really a skills shortage or just a lack of tolerance and willingness to invest in one another?
– Kym McCreary-Stewart
Career Consultant Certificate ’09/Writing for Publication ’08