Supported by Education and Employers, CASCAID have launched their latest report The Future of Work, which explores the impact of technology on young people’s expectations of work and careers education. The report reflects on how generational differences have shaped the workplace and people’s attitudes towards work. The authors also examine how the fourth industrial revolution is affecting how we work and the types of jobs that exist today.
The current meta trends impacting on young people’s transitions into the labour market are first presented. Difficulties and opportunities offered by the gig economy, the fourth industrial revolution and current government educational policy are explored to highlight the transient context in which young people are making their educational and career decisions.
The report includes new analysis of data from CASCAID’s career education platform, Kudos, which is actively used by over 2,000 schools. Drawing on real data from over 435,000 students across the country, this report looks at how students assess their skill levels in comparison to employers and whether the aspirations of post-millennials match up to the UK’s Industrial Strategy.
The report goes on to compare the results of skills assessments from Kudos with data from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and Pearson Employer and Skills Survey (2017) to explore how students’ self-reported skill levels compared to employers’ lived experience of hiring school leavers.
How do students assess their skill levels in comparison to employers?
The chart below compares the proportion of students who think they are “highly skilled” at the skill area. This is compared to the proportion of employers who are very satisfied with the skill level of school leavers.
Student self-reported skill levels compared with employer experience
This chart combines two subjective assessments: both how good students think they are at particular skills compared with how satisfied with the skills of school leavers employers are. For instance, employers are much more satisfied with the IT skills of school leavers than they are any other skill area analysed. Meanwhile, students – in aggregate – tend to think of themselves as similarly skilled at IT as they are in problem solving, communication and literacy. Employers are generally critical of analysis, communication, and problem-solving skills in a way that students do not seem to recognise.
This difference in relative rankings can be seen more clearly in the table below. An overall skill level assessment is used which is derived from all the Kudos measures for students (Highly Skilled, Skilled, Some Skill and Unskilled) and all the CBI measures for employers (Very Satisfied, Satisfied, Unsatisfied).
Skill ranking: employer satisfaction vs. Student self-perception
Here we can see that students and employers agree, in broadly relative terms, with regard to foreign language skill levels, but otherwise there is little match. Employers are most satisfied with students’ IT, numeracy, and teamwork skills, whereas students consider these to be areas where they lack skill. Employers, by contrast, are more concerned about problem solving, communication skills and analysis.
Patterns by gender reveal that male students are more confident in their IT and numeracy skills (particularly IT skills), than female students. Female students, on the other hand, are more confident in their literacy, communication, and teamworking skills (particularly literacy skills).
Understanding how subjects align with students’ target careers
The analysis reveals that the most popular subjects chosen by students typically align well with target careers. On average, students are selecting between 10 and 12 favourite subjects – although research has found this average is skewed upwards slightly by a small group of young people selecting hundreds of subjects. Moreover, it reveals that the 10 most popular careers are being shortlisted by between 5% and 10% of all students in the 2017/18 cohort.
Summary data on shortlisted careers vs. popular subjects
Technology, it appears, has an important role to play in supporting students and educators as they navigate the increasingly complex world of work. Technology offers a solution to how we provide students with up-to-date information on skills and careers in a continually changing landscape.
CASCAID is an EdTech provider and a global leader in producing careers information and guidance technology solutions. We help anyone, anywhere in the world create a successful future through self-knowledge, exploration and planning.