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Increasing job readiness for STEM graduates 

Graduate options

Research suggests that today’s graduates don’t feel well equipped to start their careers, and we want to know why

What will a job search look like in 2050? No-one knows – but one popular estimate suggests 65% of primary school-aged kids will end up in yet-to-be-created careers. We’re guessing packed with next-gen STEM gigs in cutting-edge fields like Augmented Reality (AR), data analytics, and Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based service roles.

And the great news for STEM grads is that companies are crying out for the future-focused skill-sets needed to fill them. According to the Tech Council we need to fill one million jobs in this sector by 2025 – a major plus when you’re looking for work. 

But why aren’t skilled-up graduates feeling ready? According to the Project Management Institute (PMI) more than a quarter are stressing, even with a degree behind them.

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According to Annie, for Australia to compete in the global economy, uni grads must be career-ready.

In an effort to get to the bottom of this confidence crisis, we hit up PMI‘s ANZ Head Annie Sheehan who works closely with both businesses and recent graduates.

Q&A: Annie Sheehan

CwS: STEM careers are booming! Why don’t you think graduates are feeling ready? 

Annie: “Traditional teaching models are not equipping students with the necessary skills required to be flexible, adaptive and able to apply technical and non-technical skills to real-world situations. 

“For example, power skills such as communication, teamwork and problem-solving are essential, yet graduates are often left to learn these independently rather than through formal education.” 

CwS: Ah, so it’s all about the transferable skills. What can undergraduates or new graduates do to make sure they’re feeling more prepared?

Annie: “Adopting a ‘constant learning’ mindset gives students and new graduates a head start when entering the workforce – focusing on the continuous development of non-technical, transferable professional skills, such as planning, communication, teamwork, time management, strategic thinking and problem-solving.

“Plus, seeking work-integrated learning (WIL) opportunities – increasingly offered by Australian universities to provide a better return on investment for graduates – will be essential.”

CwS: The career landscape is constantly changing – who is responsible for ensuring new grads are job-ready? 

Annie: “Ensuring the success of our future generations doesn’t just lie in the hands of one entity – it requires a collaborative effort between various parties, including schools, universities, government and business leaders.

“Universities and companies must work together to ensure that the fundamentals taught to students align with employers’ current and future needs.” 

CwS: How do you think we can better prepare grads for seeking employment?

Annie: “With more than a quarter of graduates feeling their degree adds limited value to their full-time employment roles, we must question whether our traditional teaching models are doing enough to equip them with the skills required to succeed at work.

“Today’s graduates will likely need to re-skill themselves several times throughout their careers too! Micro-credentials offer new graduates the opportunity to gain new skills and knowledge without investing in costly and time-consuming postgraduate education.”

Finished your degree and looking for work? Sign up to our monthly Graduate Outcomes e-newsletter for career trends, employer tips and ways to up-skill. 

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