The labor market is shifting towards new changes in Vietnam. And with new changes, come new challenges for job seekers. The bitter pill to swallow for the majority of education organizations these days is low rate in graduate employability.
In fact, data revealed by the General Statistics Office of Vietnam predicts that unemployment rate of young people will increase to 8,24% in 2023, and the reason behind this trend is due to employers’ dissatisfaction with the degree quality of candidates.
Thus, it is extremely important that universities and other education institutions improve the graduate employability of students as fast as possible. But first, let’s dive into what it means.
Defining Graduate Employability – not just a static term!
“Employability” is often confused as “employment”, but they are not the same! Surprised!
While “employment” is a generic term referring to the holding of a job, “employability” is deeper in context.
Professor Manz Yorke of Lancaster University defines employability as the set of skills, achievements and personal qualities that can give students the competitive edge in finding and keeping the job which they study for in university.
In the perspective of education organizations, it means an understanding of where your students will be positioned in the future job market and what to train to make it happen.
Bringing it into the context of Vietnam, the term as defined by RMIT Doctor of Education Tuyet Tran, means “making university students relevant to the workplace and prospective employers.”
Some examples of graduate employability:
- Critical thinking
- Strategic planning
- Job readiness
- Teamwork and Communication
- And many more!
Why should universities work on graduate employability?
The first and most important reason is: your graduate students reflect you! If the majority of your students have the ability to meet employers’ demands, your reputation as an education organization is enhanced. Thus, it will be easier to market your teaching and training to new generations of students.
Wouldn’t it be a nice punch to proudly announce that, “90% percent of graduates get a job after graduation!” or something like, “Employers prioritize graduates from our institution!”
Also, having good enhancement programs in it can give your students the motivation they need. You’re basically telling your students that, “Hey, just stick with us and you’ll be able to land a job in your chosen major.”
Furthermore, well-formed employability implements in the mindset of your students that after graduation, they will become useful people – to their personal development, to future employment and to the community as well.
3 ways to improve graduate employability of your students
Tailor the courses to be workplace-relevant
Vietnam is one of the many countries rethinking its university education to be less of the traditional “do-as-the-books-say” into a more modern approach of “workplace integration”. Your students are more perspective than you think they are! The youth are not just choosing courses because they are there; but rather because they serve a purpose for their careers.
By making your curriculum more connected with market demands, you are setting your students up for successful work-readiness.
One of the ways to modernize your curriculum is to offer interactive and situational learning. Universities can expand their courses to include mock environments that closely resemble actual workplaces, or linking up with local businesses to provide “field trips” to give students a more intimate look at how real employees work.
This process requires great effort and commitment, but graduate employability is a long-term reward.
Think of planting a tree! Once the hard work is paid off, the fruits are so very sweet!
It’s all about connections
Building a bridge connecting your students to employers is a good way to promote graduate employability. Internship is a good answer to that because it provides on-the-job learning.
This also gives employers a good view of what your students bring to the table. Internship reports of students can also give you a great chance to see what your students are good at and what needs improvement.
Another way to network your students with employers is to offer student-powered campaigns. Let students be the initiative force behind, for example, a small-scale marketing campaign for a local business. Many companies are keen on fresh ideas that appeal to the youth. Thus, they love to get hands-on solutions from the youth themselves.
Workshop and career fair works wonder
Workshops allow students to learn more insights about the current market, the issues and which gaps they will need to bridge once they are out there in the scene. Universities can hold workshops for various topics relating to graduate employability, such as business communication skill, time management or critical thinking. They are oftentimes cost effective and easy to operate.
Career fair is a portal for face-to-face communication between employers and undergraduates. At this event, students can have their resumes reviewed by professionals or practice interviewing skills.
Career services to enhance graduate employability
If your institution is looking for a facilitator for career events that can help students, and yourself too, understand more about graduate employability, The Bear Connection is a great choice. We can also provide exceptional strategies on how to operate smooth student campaigns.