“I can’t get experience without a job, but I can’t get a job without experience.”
“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
“Today’s generation is lazy and entitled.”
“There are no good jobs out there.”
“I can’t find the right candidate who will be a great fit.”
All of these quotes and myths are really frustrating to hear. Some even believe them and allow them to influence decision-making. The reality is these are crutches we use when things get tough. Job seekers feel they are always putting their best foot forward, and employers always feel they are being fair and balanced in their approach to hiring. Yet both sides remain frustrated with their lack of success. This is especially true when talking about younger people like new graduates.
A recent statistic that really stood out to me came from McKinsey and Company, who asked a question on job readiness of post-secondary graduates. Of those surveyed, 83 percent of colleges and universities said their graduates were ready for work, while only 34 percent of employers agreed. That’s a significant gap indeed!
It’s time to recognize that there are actions both new graduates and employers can take to help bridge this gap. Letting go of some these negative thoughts and opinions is the first step. There are great jobs out there that needed to be filled, and there are remarkably talented and hungry new graduates who will flourish in the workplace. I completely understand (and remember well) how challenging it is to invest in your education, graduate and then have no idea what the next step is. And for employers, the perfect young hire is out there — you just have to look harder.
Over the course of the next six months, I will be contributing a series of articles identifying concrete steps that students can take to put some of these myths to rest, to narrow the gap, and to give themselves an advantage in their career search. With the post-secondary sector and industry being so far apart, we all have to think about this differently for mutual benefit. Through taking action, students can lead the way to change and begin the narrowing of this gap.
Jeff Ollinger is the senior manager of talent acquisition for Royal Bank of Canada and also serves on the national board of CACEE. With considerable experience in both post-secondary career services as well as industry campus recruitment, Jeff brings a unique perspective and breadth to the campus recruitment space.