Supporting Career Success for Millennials: What Higher Ed Needs to Know

Credit: Sherry Ezhuthachan

Millennial workers: it’s not a loyalty issue. It’s a personal fulfillment thing.

It’s true – Millennials are exploring multiple options in the early years of their career. But they’re doing so at a rate comparable to earlier generations. What’s unique is the emphasis they place on doing work that they find meaningful and fulfilling. They are a generation of seekers, and over time, they will make many professional changes. They need relevant education options to forge their paths.

Fortunately, higher education leaders are paying attention.

EAB, a division of The Advisory Board, recently released results from its annual Future of Online and Professional Education Survey.  The message was clear: senior executives of online and professional higher education programs want better ways of understanding and communicating what constitutes career success for the generations coming up. In fact, 95% of respondents prioritized better tracking of graduates’ career outcomes. Success can no longer be boiled down to whether or not students have a job immediately after graduation and what their salaries are. It’s about what happens over the longer career arc – and how well institutions can support the skills needed to advance and make changes.

As Scott Fassbach of EAB put it, this will come down to meeting “contemporary learner demands for flexible, personalized, and effective education options.”

All institutions of higher education need to take note. Competition for students and budget challenges will continue to accelerate. In this environment, communicating initial job placement rates and salary ranges alone will not cut it. Long-term alumni career outcomes will be the focus; new and expanded metrics in this area will give a valuable boost to marketing efforts. And, as the entire delivery model for higher education continues to evolve, these metrics will offer invaluable insights on the most effective and in-demand program offerings.

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