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WISE releases 2019 Education survey results: "Preparing the New Generation for the Future of Work"

WISE-JobTeaser Survey: Preparing the New Generation for the Future of Work 

On the occasion of WISE@Paris, WISE (World Innovation Summit for Education) and its partner JobTeaser, the European leader in career guidance and the recruitment of young talent, have asked IPSOS to conduct an extensive survey about the future of work in Europe and how it will impact the future of learning. The survey was conducted in France, Germany, Spain, the United-Kingdom and Belgium.

The survey was carried out by Ipsos in January 2019 among three populations across five countries (France, Germany, Spain, the UK and Belgium). An Ipsos panel of 2,517 young Europeans aged 18-25 years old (including a minimum of 500 people in each of the five countries) were interviewed online. In addition to that, 381 recruiters from these 5 European countries, members of the JobTeaser community were surveyed. Finally, 192 education actors from the WISE Community (working in universities or in other higher education institutions) from the covered countries were consulted.

To illustrate this survey, four education experts were asked to give their views and highlight trends about the future of work and education.

The survey highlights the paradoxical views of the European youth, who while they feel optimistic about the future of work, also think that they are not well prepared to it by their national education systems.

Indeed, less than half of young Europeans consider themselves well prepared to enter the job market. But, at the same time, 78% of young Europeans feel optimistic about the future of work.  Technological progress (eg tools powered by AI) is what fuels young people’s optimism about the future of work: 82% of those surveyed consider it a positive factor.
Despite what recruiters think, the level of salary is the main criteria for young adults when choosing a job, beyond work-life balance, equal career progression and a purpose-driven job.

Regarding the preparation of young people to their first job, the European Youth, consider that schools and universities are the main responsible actors (60%).
88% of the young Europeans would like to be better supported (through teachers advice or career counselling) when they define their professional choice.
Education actors are also doubtful of the performance of their respective education systems: Nearly half of the educators surveyed think that the education students receive does not prepare them to enter the job market. Furthermore, almost 4 education actors in 10 (38%) consider themselves poorly equipped to prepare students for jobs that they think will be in demand in 10 years.
Recruiters tend to largely agree with this idea: 77% of them believe that their country’s education system is not preparing young people to enter the job market, and 72% that it is not preparing them well for the future of work either.

In this context, it is not surprising that a large majority of recruiters (90%) considers that businesses should have an input in how higher education institutions are preparing students for the future of work.

All three populations also consider that vocational schools are the institutions that prepare young people the best for the future of work (78% of young Europeans, 77% of recruiters and 77% of education actors).
Soft skills, human qualities and adaptability are the skills that are most in demand. On the one hand, a majority of young Europeans have the feeling that employers generally give too much importance to having a diploma.

On the other hand, recruiters state that they believe soft skills are what are decisive today. 96% say they pay attention to job applicants’ soft skills, and 58% say they pay as much attention to their soft skills as to their hard skills or academic background.

More generally, all three populations consider soft skills or human qualities (empathy, openness, ability to work with others) necessary to preparing for the working world, more so than professional training during school.
Interestingly, young Europeans consider that computing skills (including coding and the ability to interact with AI) will be the most important skills for work in the next 10 years: 44% cite them as the most important skill to develop, compared to 26% for recruiters and 27% for educators.

It follows that they also consider computer science to be the most important subject to teach at school in the coming years, whereas recruiters attribute the most importance to foreign languages, and education actors to ethics.
Recruiters also have stronger expectations concerning two key competencies: ability to self-train and flexibility/ adaptability—nearly two thirds believe the latter will be the most important skill to have.


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