Traditional Education is dying. Curriculums are outdated and degrees don’t entitle you to a job after your studies. We must influence new generations to embrace digitisation and open themselves up to work in a digital environment. However, the digital job market is a minefield, making recruitment painstakingly difficult for both companies and young people.
Moreover, one of the most vital objectives for businesses is to discover and retain talent. Because of the ever evolving digital era, online recruitment must adapt in order to cater to the needs of businesses and the high demand of jobs from millennials.
By 2020, online recruitment is estimated to generate a market of $23B, despite averaging at $1.6B in 2013*. This tremendous growth must be catered for.
Whilst Europe has been creating more digital jobs, it unfortunately doesn’t have the skilled workforce to fill them. We spoke with Psychologist and HR expert Hugo Immink, Founder of Skylab Coders Academy David Monreal & Marc Collado of Ironhack Barcelona to get their experienced insight on the current digital marketplace and to see how they think education should change to aid online recruitment.
“We’re in the digital era but our educational system is still based on the industrial era. There is a disconnect. We’re still teaching old school” Hugo illustrates the stark contrast between education and work today, with his own experience: “educational systems and employers need to learn to understand each other’s language. I was never taught to survive in a corporate jungle. I would have really appreciated this, but didn’t get taught anything like this in university.”
David Monreal goes a step further and says that higher education is outdated and some degrees should be adapted and adaptable to changing environments. “Just a degree is useless. Most are old because the curriculums are old. We need to adapt what we teach our young people. Not just in content but in our way of thinking.”
It’s not just content that needs a makeover. Our attitudes to working must improve. “In traditional education they are leveraging memory, and we have Google for that. If you don’t teach the logic and make young people have passion for things, we are doing a weak favour to our young people” David adds.
Workkola, one of the selected startups for Startupbootcamp IoT & Data Tech 2017, as well as SouthSummit 2016 finalist & third place winner at Talent Summit 2016, is on a journey to teach students skills that will allow them to flourish in the digital world.
So how are Workkola attempting to tackle university education and its traditions? Alvaro Mancilla Moreno, the CEO, knows how challenging it is for graduates to find work and equally how challenging it is for companies to find skilled workers. That’s why he started Workkola, a digital marketplace that connects students to startups.
They use gamification as a selection process to make it easier for students to find their first job. The tool puts students of higher education in contact with technological startups, and it does this through real projects, which relate to the students’ academic field. Then, the students receive feedback.
Alvaro explains, “We do this with the “Tripadvisor style” of our marketplace. Students have a tool that enables them to get endorsed and validated before they finish their degrees. They receive ratings and reviews from companies they are working with, so at the end, the community is doing the recruiting process for the others.”
“The idea is to get valuable content. This is the challenge. To get valuable profiles. Not to get a list of 100 curriculums” he adds.
Nowadays startups need staff in no longer than 2 months, therefore not enough time to complete a meticulous, high level recruitment process. Companies need an indicator to help them decide which candidate is best for them.
Hugo thinks it’s not just the startups that need to analyse candidates, “People are now way more critical of the choices they make and the jobs they want to enter. They care a lot about what the company stands for, much more than say people did 20 years ago.”
Whilst young people are proving more selective in their job searching, they are also unfortunately faced with the task of standing out amongst the mammoth crowd.
Hugo recalls, “When I was working years ago, every monday i had to go through a huge bag of written job applications. Now, you can apply through Linkedin and see the number of applicants for each position. So how can you stand out against them?”
The issue with the Linkedin endorsement system is that it is not always objective and often connections, sometimes even strangers, request them from you as a gesture of goodwill. Hugo agrees, saying, “People share endorsements and it’s not honest or accurate.”
Workkola are striving for objectivity and accuracy and are currently looking into different ways of individual analysis to achieve this.
“Our next goal is to keep working on the differentiation of the candidates, our core value is in this differentiation of talent. We need to know who is the best one in every single field. We are going to introduce a better way of rating them” Alvaro says.
One problem for Workkola is that not all startups will have the time to train juniors. Although David Monreal has shown interest in their concept, he agrees that companies themselves should have something to offer students, not just the other way around: “If a startup has strictly 3 or 4 people, they must be able to do things. They cannot have someone junior and learning. They need people who will work tirelessly and are able to solve everything” he says.
This is why he created his coding school. So people can complete their 10 weeks of full-on training and walk into a job that pays around €30k.
“Coding is so important because it is everywhere. An elevator has coding inside. It’s a new way of creating tools for yourself… and we know we are teaching certain technologies but one thing we want our students to understand is to be autonomous. After 10 weeks they will be on their own, we will support them but they will have to learn new things and move from company to company” he says.
It’s not just tech-students that are taking part in coding schools. Skylabs has seen musicians, full-contact fighters and people in their late 50s dedicating themselves fully to 10 intensive weeks.
Marc Collado also works with the coding school Ironhack and agrees that prospective programmers are everywhere and are needed more than ever.
“Programmers are not those guys in the IT department that nobody knew what they were working on. Software is not for programmers anymore, software is ubiquitous. From sales, marketing to human resources, being knowledgeable about code and technology is the necessary step to understand how all the products we use every day work.”
If a large percentage of us are capable of thriving in a demanding digital workplace then the only obstacle should be finding the work online, but prior experience is essential. Workkola provides this essential experience for students whilst simultaneously providing support for startups. Ultimately, this earns them a place as a strong contender in the current digital marketplace.
“I think the future of online recruitment lies on “what you have built”, rather than a paper that states you have been sitting in a classroom for five years. Companies hire doers, people who want to have an impact and can actually move the organisation forward. Papers and certificates prove none of it” Marc stresses.
“Any tool that helps students connect with companies and show them what they are able to do, is a great resource to facilitate employment” he adds.
We are now more ready than ever to embrace a solid platform that will bridge the almighty gap between students and employers. The market is providing the tools, it is up to the students & startups to utilize them.
*Sources: SIA (Staffing Industry Analyst) 2013
Markets & Markets 2015