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Report: Skills Gap Increasing in Higher Ed-to-Business Talent Pipelines

Employers are struggling to find college graduates with the necessary skills for their jobs, according to a new report from the Human Capital Institute (HCI).

The report, "Collaboration U: Business and University Partnerships To Secure Talent Pipelines," is the latest issue of HCI's Talent Pulse quarterly research e-book, which examines how universities and companies collaborate to ensure that students acquire the skills and knowledge required for their chosen careers. The report is based on a 28-question email survey of 212 HCI members, which was conducted this spring.

According to HCI, employers are encountering a "significant and constantly growing skills gap in today's workforce," and "there appears to be a disconnect between higher education institutions that are preparing the next generation of workers and the employers who expect to hire them." As a result of this challenge, companies are focusing their efforts on developing the skills of existing employees rather than hiring new graduates to fill positions. The report examines this issue to identify specific areas where the skills gap exists and the challenges employers are facing when hiring college graduates.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Only 22 percent of respondents said they have a strong talent pipeline for critical positions;
  • 71 percent of respondents indicated they agree or strongly agree with the statement, "Our collaboration with colleges and universities strengthens our talent pipeline"; and
  • 37 percent said they agree or strongly agree with the statement, "Students in our country are prepared to enter the workforce."

Although most respondents use indirect methods of involvement with educational institutions, such as career fairs and on-campus recruiters, many see the value of direct involvement, such as hosting innovation competitions for students and employee-student mentorships. Employers that report having a strong talent pipeline already say they focus on building awareness of their brand on campus, even when they're not actively recruiting, and they communicate their needs for skills to students and schools.

The full report, "Collaboration U: Business and University Partnerships to Secure Talent Pipelines," is available as a free PDF download from the HCI site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].

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