Making headway for digital transformation is a sizable challenge. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, half of the present work activities could be automated through existing technology. While job growth may increase, workers will still need diverse skills.
Universities can revise their curriculum so that they remain abreast to the technological changes. However, if Australian businesses are not adopting at a similar rate, graduates will be prepared for jobs of the future instead of the present ones. The Productivity Commission data has demonstrated the depreciation of Australian business productivity and technology adoption.
Many current business leaders graduated with the knowledge and skills of single discipline, and pick up other relevant skills by working for a business that provided on-the-job training. Over time, they took a further qualification to expand their skills for management roles. However, this is losing its relevance as many small and medium enterprises now have neither the time nor budget to train graduates; while larger organisations now hire few fresh graduates.
Discipline knowledge is critical, however, graduates also need to understand the use of teamwork to deal with complex challenges, using significant amounts of information and data. Communication and technology skills are fundamental. Graduates need to fully comprehend their career purpose. They require the mental and practical skills for the dynamic careers in the gig economy, where full-time, long-term employment is limited. They have to have tools and practices needed to design and operate small businesses that drive Australian economic growth. For these to actualise, universities will have to leverage their deep knowledge of research to revise both the curriculum and the method in which they are delivered.
International labour market data and analysis of various jobs and skills is made now accessible. It clearly illustrates the trends in skills and job requirements. This information coupled with the knowledge acquired from universities’ partnership with employers and research partners, allow many to make sense of where technology in each discipline is heading.
One of the current challenges is the expansion and bridging of experience gap, and to help SMEs tap onto graduates to build business productivity and competitiveness. This is because not every student will get a work placement and sometimes placements do little to prepare students for work. Employers will have to devote time and training such that it is beneficial for both student and employer. Therefore, instead, universities have to simulate workplaces equipped with the latest technologies at the institutions by working with industry partners; and also customise projects that can also be worthy to the SMEs.
It is important to make certain a continued collaboration between employers and universities and to take note of the changing needs of businesses. Employers can then leverage on graduates with the relevant skills and capacities to propel their productivity and future success.
Source: The Conversation
Join us in the upcoming QS-APPLE 2018 from 21-23 November 2018 in Seoul, South Korea, as we discuss the topic on “Future Universities in the Asia-Pacific: The Changing Face of Higher Education”.