How Prepared Are Our Students for the Workforce?

A new report suggests institutions must evolve to attract students amid rising education costs, employers removing four-year degree requirements, and a growing skills crisis where just 32% of Gen Z employees feel very equipped with the resources to learn the digital skills needed to thrive.

Salesforce’s third annual Connected Student Report surveyed more than 1,300 students and 1,300 higher education professionals around the world. The report also features insights from in-depth briefings with senior leaders at higher education institutions across 11 countries. Findings include:

 Almost half (47%) of students selected their institutions based on potential future career prospects, yet just 11% felt very prepared for the world of work. 

Just a third of students surveyed rated their onboarding experience highly.

Only 2% of students who reported a poor onboarding experience say they went on to have a great university experience overall. 

Almost half (48%) of students predicted their qualifications would only be relevant for their chosen career path for five years or less after graduation.

As for what specifically do students need from their university to build their careers and/or fund a job, and what has the institution done to help them prepare for internships, job interviews and their careers – the survey results show a gap between what’s offered and what students say they need (see graph). 

Further, in regards to the topic of an institution valuing “flexibility”, students who have a great experience reported having easy online access to data and resources (86% great experience vs. 49% poor experience), services available via mobile (82% vs. 61%), positive digital experiences (81% vs. 36%), access to sharing platforms (80% vs. 57%), and personalized experiences tailored to their needs (60% vs. 11%). More than half (57%) of staff anticipate that flexible learning will increase in the near future.

Higher education institutions can strengthen student success by delivering great experiences and holistic support from their first day campus, whether virtual or in person.

Marie Laxague Rosecrans, CMO, Education and Nonprofits at Salesforce, explains the importance of these insights: “There is an immense opportunity for higher education institutions to future-ready themselves and connect with students in new and exciting ways by building better connections, prioritizing wellbeing, and tailoring support to better prepare students for their academic journey and beyond,” she says. Learn more

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