Cam Marston’s 2007 essay on reaching the best and brightest young people for jobs, has influenced me very much during the design of Next Acropolis. I recommend you take a look at it, on page 6 of the National Association of College and Employers’ collection of essays entitled, Through the Looking Glass: The Future of College Recruiting.
Marston lays out a vision for 2017, in which employers recruit bright talent directly out of high school, and offer college to a select group they wish to cultivate. Perhaps this cadre will emerge from students who cannot afford college, or highly motivated students who are willing to agree to serve their company for a specified time frame.
Also, in Marston’s projection of the future employment market, students will treat their undergraduate time like many treat their graduate degrees. I remember undergraduate as a very focused time, and I personally wished this would have taken place; I know it did for certain chemistry majors, who were recruited into the pharmaceutical industry, with lucrative opening salaries and education reimbursement.
Marston believes that there are ample opportunities for employers to reach out to students they depend on and reimburse for education after undergraduate studies; this is institutional in top consulting firms, where excellent recruits are guaranteed acceptance into a top business school, a laptop, and paid MBA time. This is the privilege of a few, right now.
But imagine a world of the future, not far away, where there is a projected shortage of six million students, required by the US economy. Baby boomers retiring will affect the country in ways that are hard to predict, but this is one area where we know for certain, that businesses will need students more than the country’s educational system can produce them. It may well be 2012 when businesses begin to invest in the students they view as their future skilled workforce.
The notion that work will change the ways students pursue education is highly valid. I believe that one of the key strategies of Next is to create an environment where students know that when they produce research on an industry, that people will notice them, and potentially recruit them. For the most motivated 10% of the students, this may drastically change the way they affect the economy. Because they gain an unprecedented insight into the way the economy works, they generate research that is of vital interest to the economy. Employers respond by aggressively contacting them and incentivizing their work through tools that are efficient and cost-sensitive. Simply put, Next Acropolis is designed to meet students and employers half-way, and provide a market for students to meet their ideal place in economy.
Given the productivity improvements this decade in corporate operations, students shouldn’t be preparing for functionary jobs in firms, but pre-managerial roles that involve strategic, analytical reporting, and highly valuable assistance roles. I know within my own field, the advances in business intelligence networks enable a manager to analyze data throughout their organization, and eliminate the need for high paid consultants by farming highly strategic analytic assignments to recent business graduates. This means that work performed by high-profile MBA grads can be done by recent undergraduates, with the proper oversight and guidance. This frees recent MBAs to literally spearhead new business units, and become junior executives of completely new lines of business, with highly cost-efficient production methods. My message to you is that because of the relative cost of US grads to employ, train and retain, the expectations increase (especially with productivity advancements).
The same opportunities exist for each profession, as each profession develops new IT, and other countries achieve technical competence in all sectors of the economy.
In related news:
- Supply Chain Engineers are to be trained while still in school, to stem the tide of expert retirees
- MBA programs continuously tailor their programs to suit the employers
- KPMG London cites finds that only 9% of employers see the degree as the primary criteria in hiring; they really want someone “fully prepared for work”
- UK companies consort on how to attract and retain top female grads in areas that lack high female employment