university vs college: They are no longer needed, at least not to find a job

An interesting job offer has been circulating for a few days: Spotify is looking for the head of studios for Southern and Eastern Europe. Base: Milan and Madrid. Objective: to create or buy audio content that celebrates the stories and lives of those who work with music.

University Vs College – What a pain!

Ten requirements. To be read carefully to understand how the job market is changing: 

  • 1) relevant industry experience; 
  • 2) an expert passion for music, podcasts, radio, TV, film and pop culture; 
  • 3) the ability to communicate and influence others; 
  • 4) significant budget management skills; 
  • 5) awareness, that the most important of all is partner relationships; 
  • 6) considerable presentation and interpersonal skills; 
  • 7) knowledge of management systems and business organization; 
  • 8) a predisposition to analyze and use data to achieve objectives;
  • 9) the method to plan everything, even with tight deadlines, and exceptional attention to detail; 
  • 10) finally the character, always optimistic, ready to adapt to change and to work in a team.
university vs college

Is anything missing? It seems not. Or is it. The degree is missing. Irrelevant. Spotify’s is not an oddity, but a trend. Two years ago, a website that publishes job offers collected the stories of 15 large companies for which a degree is no longer a requirement for hiring: the list opens with;

Google, Apple and IBM, but there are also the Hilton hotel chain, the Starbucks coffee shop chain and Bank of America. Not only digital. In Italy it’s rarer, especially among corporations, big companies, but for example in July the (successful) startup Quorum, which manages polls and political analysis signed YouTrend, was looking for an analyst to hire and among the requirements the degree was not mentioned.

This trend helps us understand the move that Google announced a few weeks ago that has been called “Google University” even though it has nothing to do with university. In short, Google has announced the creation of three “certificates” that can be obtained with six months of study, at a cost of $ 49 per month, and that for recruitment will be evaluated as some degree. In particular, for the Italian case, Information Sciences, Computer Engineering and Management Engineering. 

Six months versus three years. It must be said that Google already has two “certificates” in progress: that of IT support and developer in a popular programming language. Now they’re adding “data analyst,” “project manager” and “software user experience designer.” They may sound like specialized, or niche jobs, but they’re not.

They are the jobs of the present. For the past few years, the European Union has been publishing a report updating its count of digital job vacancies. A few million. Vacant due to lack of candidates, due to lack of skills. 

The point is that, until now, it was necessary to have a university degree to obtain those skills, but in recent years it has been realized that this is no longer the case. According to the latest data, 56 percent of developers in the world don’t have a degree. They learned on their own, they learned by doing.

university vs college

Without going to the extreme of Elon Musk who said that to work at Tesla you don’t need to have gone to university, that those are places to have fun not to learn; without going that far, it is a fact that for certain skills, for certain jobs, even important, even well paid, university is no longer needed. Six months of good work is enough, says Google, six months and you are employable. By Google and by about fifty other large companies joining the project.

This is not meant to diminish the value of study, nor is it an insult to the university, which remains the place for higher education, where one can study everything in depth, broaden one’s horizons, plan a career as a researcher or aspire to highly qualified jobs.

But in today’s job market there are plenty of vacancies for which all those things are not needed. Much less is needed. In autumn something similar will open in Rome: a school for developers on the model of a very successful experience opened in Paris a few years ago.

At a time when, due to the pandemic, unemployment is back on the rise everywhere, and the younger generation, still out of the job market, are automatically excluded from the round of government aid, incentives and bonuses, we should try to grow opportunities like this: encourage companies to train future employees by working on people’s employability, their chance of actually being hired.

After graduation? There’s almost only university, but 1 in 6 soon change their mind

College proves to be the high road to post high school graduation. But it is not always the right choice. Perhaps because, in many cases, the decision to continue studying is not entirely the students’ own doing, but is influenced by external factors. 

Two factors above all: the family context of origin and the idea that with a degree in their pocket, their job prospects can increase considerably. Thus, when faced with the first obstacles, many give up. 

This is the summary of the latest 2020 Report on the “Occupational and Educational Condition of Secondary School Graduates”, carried out by AlmaDiploma and the AlmaLaurea Interuniversity Consortium, involving more than 88 thousand graduates (about 47 thousand in 2018 and 41 thousand in 2016).

Almost everyone in college, but it's not always a final choice

The dynamics found in the past are all reaffirmed. Enrollment in a university faculty seems almost inevitable: among 2018 graduates, more than 7 out of 10 (71.7%) flocked to graduate programs the following fall. 

A project, that of the freshmen, that could be glimpsed well in advance: 87% were in fact already convinced among the school desks that they wanted to go to university, openly declaring it on the eve of the state exam? It is, however, true that 8.3% of students later changed their minds. 

The proportion of those who have revised their choices is greater among professional (24.4%) and technical (13.3%) graduates than among high school students, where the proportion of second thoughts is practically irrelevant (5.2%); perhaps because the first two categories can count on greater work opportunities immediately after high school. 

One example of all: 18.9% of those who did the school-to-work alternation, within a year of graduation, were subsequently recalled by the company in which they did this activity, but among technical graduates this figure is 27.4% and among professional graduates it is 32.6%.

Practice doesn't match theory: is it just orientation's fault?

What generates all this rethinking, which is absolutely not to be overlooked? The prevailing reason for changing course or university is linked, above all, to dissatisfaction, compared to initial expectations, with the disciplines studied: 44.0% declare that those they had studied up to that moment were not interesting, 4.4% found the course too difficult, and 8.1% declared themselves dissatisfied with their chosen university. 

On the other hand, 33.5% of those who chose to change course or university felt that the change was linked to the new possibility of accessing a degree course that they had not been able to access previously, where there was perhaps an entrance test. Finally, the remainder chose to change for personal reasons (4.8%) or for other reasons (4.3%).

Faced with these dynamics, the finger is usually pointed above all at orientation activities that do not work sufficiently and whose criticalities have their roots well before graduation. And in part this is true, it’s enough to make kids go back in their minds to eighth grade: only 55.5% of 2018 graduates say they would choose the same address/course at the same school.

The remaining 44.3% would make a different choice: 24.5% would change both school and address, 11.7% would choose the same address but at a different school, and 8.1% would choose a different address at the same school. And one year after graduation, in light of the experiences made, the picture changes slightly, but the basic idea remains the same: the percentage of those who would repeat exactly the same school pathway rises to 59.8% and 39.9% of those who would change their choice. 

The graduates who are least convinced of the choice they made at the age of 14? Those from professional institutes; among these, moreover, during the first year following the awarding of the degree, dissatisfaction with the choice made becomes more acute. Technical graduates, and even more so high school graduates, tend to be the most satisfied.

university vs college

In some countries it's worse

Unlike many European countries where the university costs little or it is even almost free, in the United States the university involves an investment of money, almost always a heavy loan for families.

Families are forced to take out mortgages to allow their children to go to college with the hope that once they finish college, they will be able to pay off their debt quickly and enjoy life.

But as we saw earlier, over 47% of those who choose to go to college decide to drop out in the early years, or otherwise do not complete their studies.
Which not only means that these people won’t receive graduate salaries, but they’ll also have to cover the years of studies they’ve done, ending up in even more trouble with banks

It seems that the ultimate solution is at this point, choose a career and get experience on the boss without a degree, so that you not only save time and money, but can earn money at the same time.
What are your thoughts?
Better with or without a college degree?

Oleksandr - Seifer

Oleksandr Moccogni

I have been involved in marketing and business strategy for over 10 years. I love SEO and everything that allows me to interpret the web with new eyes.
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