Students across South Africa are opting to study further at universities in the hopes it will improve their job opportunities.
While their prospects of finding employment are much higher than other African countries, this still may not be enough.
This is according to Seth Trudeau and Keno Omu of the African Leadership University, who said it has now become more important “how” students are being taught as opposed to “what” they are being taught.
“Business leaders frequently say there are jobs, but a lack of skilled talent to do them,” they said.
“There are two commonly cited explanations. The first is that financial, human capital and infrastructure constraints have a negative impact on the range and quality of skills students graduate with. The second is the disconnect between what universities teach and the skills needed in the market,” they said.
This mindset change has been reflected by a number of companies, notably Ernst & Young, who from 2016 onwars removed degree classifications.
The company noted that, while academic performance was still an important factor when deciding on candidates, it “found no evidence to conclude that previous success in higher education correlated with future success in subsequent professional qualifications undertaken”.
Moving away from traditional universities
According to Trudeau and Omu, South African universities need to rethink their approach to learning if they are to produce people with the critical thinking, leadership, collaboration and problem solving skills needed for modern life.
They said that the majority of learning in African universities still occurs in large lecture halls and rewards the ability to remember and repeat information – one of the least effective ways of learning.
Instead the duo believes that the effective learning takes just three things:
- First, students must be able to reflect on what they are learning. Reflection helps students assess what they know and what they don’t.
- Second, true learning happens when students stop being passive recipients of information and become active experimenters.
- Third, learning happens when students apply new concepts or skills.
“Universities are the planning stage for a society’s aspirations. African universities must begin to produce employable leaders who will meet the challenges that are hindering the continent’s progress.
“To produce graduates with the appropriate skills and ways of thinking, they will have to change the way they see, design and assess learning,” they said.
8 international companies that don’t only look at your university degree
According to a January 2017 Glassdoor report, Ernst & Young is just one of a number of companies that are offering well-paying jobs to those with non-traditional education or a high-school diploma.
Naturally these requirements may differ based on the specific jobs and the offices hiring, but each of these companies have committed to looking at other talents beyond academics when deciding on candidates.
These are some of the biggest international companies and the types of positions they are hiring for.
- Ernst and Young (EY) – Team Assistant, Tax Manager, HR Assistant, Executive Assistant, IT Onsite Support Specialist, Quality & Risk Management Associate,
- Google – Legal Assistant, Operations Assistant, Administrative Business Partner, Product Manager, Childrens Center Teacher, Analyst of Social Support Insights
- Penguin Random House – Trade Show Coordinator, Contracts & Permissions Assistant, Author Tour Coordinator, Customer Service Manager,
- Hilton – Cook, Suitekeeper, Director of Rooms Division, Director of Food & Beverage, Dishwasher, Guest Service Agent
- Apple – Copy Writer, iTunes Store Software Engineer, Financial Analyst, Caffe Macs Juice Bar Attendant, Senior Electrical Technician, Senior Manager, Genius
- Starbucks – Store Manager, Shift Manager, Inside Sales Account Rep, Teavana Store Manager, Recruiter
- Nordstrom – Logistics Processor, Retail Cashier, Retail Sales, Restaurant Server & Host, Barista, Retail Sales Counter Manager
- IBM – Recruiting Specialist, Offering Management and Developer Advocacy, Compliance Officer, Senior Graphic Designer