Traditional graduate recruitment models target students that have followed a higher education route – a three or four-year university degree, followed by a master’s degree, from a premium university.
There are growing arguments that this model for entry-level recruitment is out-of-date.
The Pandemic Factor
Evidence that top university graduates always translate into the best employees has always been questionable, but it is now increasingly clear in the post-Covid world, that soft skills such as creative thinking, curiosity, empathy, inventiveness, and adaptability are more potent markers of success.
Covid has dramatically increased the velocity of change for industries, spurring the shift from physical to virtual with the accelerated adoption of technology-based solutions. In the new normal, traditional high-value skills have been rendered outdated and job seekers need to upgrade their credentials to remain employable.
The University Paradox
Degrees have increasingly become the gateway to job interviews. Changes in education policies post-1990s transformed the university-educated youth demographic from 12% to almost 50% today.
The reality is though, that there is no correlation between the number of available vacancies and the rate at which universities offer their courses. Consequently, we have a huge number of highly educated young people with skills not commensurate to market demand.
The entry-level employee of the future will not necessarily have a university education, but a proven ability to develop and update their skills through several micro accreditations. Universities, however, are still offering a ‘waterfall’ approach to education, but the industry needs employees that are agile – adaptable, quick to learn new skills, and develop them incrementally through lifelong learning.
A New Approach to Recruitment, and Work
The way in which we work as consultants, and IT professionals is changing. The realization by organizations that their consulting requirements can be more efficiently delivered off-site means that more projects may be staffed through remote consulting and work. With commute time saved, workdays can now be organized into efficient, concentrated periods of effort, leaving ample room for work-life balance.
Common functional IT skills such as project management, Agile, SAFE, and business analyst skills will be at a premium as the number, and scale of projects being undertaken by organizations balloons in a race to modify their operations, and remain competitive.
Universities cannot keep pace with new IT skill requirements that have a short lifespan in the marketplace with new technologies and delivery methods being implemented at lightning speed.
With the downgrading of academic degrees, the talent pool is widened, including those that take career breaks to reskill or take up vocational courses in place of university education – leading to a more vibrant workforce.
Technical colleges and online learning providers have a clear advantage as tailored modular courses have been in vogue for some time. By offering courses and accreditations in bite-size chunks around market demands that can be completed in weeks and not years, they can attract people to upskill even if they are time-poor and be better aligned with the employment market.
Lego Style Learning is the Future
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and re-learn” – Alvin Toffler
Continuous learning based on short Lego-style accreditations of relevant skills is the way of the future.
Employers and educators must work in tandem to determine the skills in demand and the courses on offer. This partnership will also enable the creation of flexible employment-learning schedules.
Employers who seize the opportunity to transform their hiring approach will see a significant uptick in their workforce diversity, talent, and business value quotient.
Partner, Digital practice, Infosys Consulting
Dan Truman leads our Digital practice in the UK, shaping our digital advisory offerings and driving digital innovation, strategy, and transformation programs with our world-class client base. Dan has 20+ years of experience as a digital transformation leader, deploying digital products and services for global organizations across multiple industries. He joined us from Publicis Sapient, and prior to that, he spent a decade at Capgemini Invent, leading the design and delivery of digital customer experience transformations for clients across consumer, retail, public and financial services sectors. Dan graduated from Loughborough University in European Business and German and completed a postgraduate diploma in International Marketing from the University of London.
Associate Partner, Talent & Organization practice, Infosys Consulting
Vikram leads the HR Transformation team for the Talent & Organization practice in the UK, helping clients with digital transformation. He has advised some of our biggest clients on achieving back-office productivity through RPA, AI-led insights, and employee experience-led service mapping. Vikram has over 22 years of experience and prior to joining Infosys Consulting, he has worked in several consulting and delivery roles in firms like PriceWaterhouseCoopers, LogicaCMG(CGI) and Atos. He specializes in transformation of the HCM market from back-office productivity to employee experience-led focus.
Senior Principal, Digital practice, Infosys Consulting
Graham joined Infosys Consulting 6 back and is part of our Digital practice. He is an expert in master data strategy and governance and drives large transformation projects related to data management, data management organization, terms of reference, and operating models. Prior to joining Infosys Consulting, Graham spent over 30 years working in the parcels & mail distribution sector, in a variety of senior operations and strategic planning roles