A recent study (2013) conducted by the Trendence Institute in Berlin points out that more than half of European graduates are worried about their careers, a rate that rises to more than 80% in Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain. The McKinsey report “Education to Employment: Getting Europe’s Youth into Work” (2013) highlights that in Europe, 74% of education providers were confident that their graduates were prepared for work, but only 38% of youth and 35% of employers agreed. The lack of understanding and dialogue between key players (education, young people, and enterprises) lead to another insight which is very relevant: again according to the McKinsey survey, the 27% of employers reported that they have left a vacancy open in the past year because they couldn’t find anyone with the right skills. This means, that even when the jobs are available, young people often are not suitable for open positions.
The link between Education and the labour market should be addressed to improve transition between education and labour market: a preliminary analysis on the topic highlighted common problems, such as:
Students are not enough prepared in understanding the competences needed to play professional roles: they often have information about the specific competences required, but they have not the awareness about how the role of the professional is carried out (i.e. soft skills);
Students are not familiar with the world of work, so that they have not clear in mind what mean in facts working settings and environments;
Students often lack of self-awareness with respect to their own skills, particularly in relation to professional career they wish to undertake.
The need of dialogue between Education and enterprises is therefore not related only to placement: placement is a consequence of candidates suitable to job vacancies, rather than a simple matching between degrees and job posts. Career offices have worked since years to foster mobility through internship and traineeships, in order to enhance dialogue between academia and enterprises to one side, and to foster self-awareness and development of soft-skills and transversal competences in students to the other side. Within this process, sustainability should be also taken into consideration: students should be equipped with self-reflection and self-assessment skills, they should therefore acquire career development skills; however they should also be offered with opportunities to understand professions, and which competences professional roles imply in real contexts. This mean that students should have the opportunity to talk with enterprises before interviews for internship, or work.