Should staffing within University Career Centres be tied to the employment success rate of students upon graduation?

I just read the recent article in CBC news “It’s not a guarantee: University no longer comes with promise of stable job” by Nick Purdon and Leonardo Palleja and firmly believe that Universities and Post Secondary Career Centre’s in Canadian schools need to read this article and take note of it. According to Purden and Palleja’s article, the University of Regina Graduate U appears to be ahead of the curve in responding to the changing needs and might be a good program to adopt or use as a model.

As time goes on the emphasis will be for Career Centres to focus on the success rate of students becoming employed in “quality jobs” after graduation and not just minimum wage positions. I think Career Centres should have targets of placement and staff be tied to the success rate.  Students and parents will be looking at schools that provide this service as the cost of post-secondary school tuition rises. It used to be having a university degree made it easier to get a job but that is no longer the case. While Co-op is a great option, universities need to continue to help those who did not do a Co-op or have not worked while going to school.

Career Centres need to be an integral part of the university experience and not a last-minute thought.

In some universities, a hands-off approach is taken by the Career Centre staff, who believe that their job is “not to help students find a job, but it is to give them the tools to find it themselves. If we do their resumes they won’t know how to do them in the future for the next job.

While this sounds great the reality is that some career centres are not up to date. To be successful the Career Centres need to be labour market experts, understand the latest jobs, know where alumni are working and understand the career transition model and be the bridge to work. Students need some direction and knowledge with which to base decisions. Learning how to do a great resume does not mean that you will be a great worker in your industry.

Career Centres exist because students need help, they are your customers. I believe every student should be connected with an employer regardless of whether they are the top student or not. Sometimes the ones who academically not the best students make excellent workers in the right position. I am a strong believer that all Career Advisors need to be constantly upgrading – you advocate this for students so why do you not do it yourself? Career Centres need to step up to the plate and be proactive to meet the changing needs of the student population.

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