Recently, the McKinsey Center for Government released the second in its “Education to Employment” series of the reports. The first, “Education to Employment: Designing a System that Works,” released in December 2012, looked at global youth unemployment challenges and the roles of higher education institutions and employers in helping students to make the transition from one domain to the other more successfully. The second report, “Education to Employment: Getting Europe’s Youth into Work,” released in January of this year, takes a geographically more narrow look at the same issues, and makes some practical recommendations for addressing the so-called skills gap currently vexing many European nations.
The report is timely, and relevant not only to all who are concerned about the prospect of a “lost generation” of European youth but also to those of us concerned with the college-to-work transition here in the U.S., and the potential long-term effects of underemployment and unemployment.
I was reminded of this very recently while conducting a brief survey of employers myself. In one question, the survey presented the respondents with a list of more than a dozen institutional characteristics and asked how important each of those characteristics is to their selection of preferred providers for recruiting full-time hires. Included in the list of characteristics were things like geographic location, diversity of the student body, institutional rankings, selectivity, and so forth.