Closing the Skills Gap with Meaningful Work

The Great Resignation

After “The Great Resignation” comes the “The Great Re-Education​”

Are you in the process of changing your job or career? You are not alone… in this new ecosystem of learning and work, amid a global pandemic, all-time high student debt, major labor shortages, and a less-than-certain economic outlook, more people than ever are putting in question their career path and the education required to get them to their personal and professional goals. In January 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), since April 2021, nearly 33 million people left their job, or over a fifth of the total U.S. workforce quit, retired, were fired, or were hired. At this time, the Great Resignation shows no signs of slowing down. This new socio-economic shift is giving shorter-term stackable credentials a burst of momentum. To get back into the workforce, many individuals will need more education and credentials, and they’ll need it quickly, at a low cost, and in skills that are directly relevant to new in-demand jobs. Embrace your next career path changes because sometimes the biggest challenges in your life can bring the most positive educational opportunities to your career.

Why are employees quitting their jobs?

Workers are quitting because they are not satisfied with their current pay, working conditions, and employee benefits. They want more flexibility, more money, and more happiness. Plus, they are reimagining what meaningful work is, how employers value them, and how they spend their time. According to a report by Cengage, the top reasons why workers are leaving are making more money, feeling burnt out and unsupported, no longer feeling like they are growing in positions, reconsidering priorities and professional goals, and having other passions or a different career path they want to pursue. Michael Hansen, Cengage Group CEO, says, “These people aren’t resigning because they’re tired or exhausted; they’re resigning because they have ambitions for themselves, goals, and aspirations.” Employees, who want to succeed, also quit their jobs when they don’t receive the professional training to become effective in their roles at the company. This leads many of them to rethink their educational options to expand their job opportunities. Leading people to be more interested and considered in micro-degrees since they offer an excellent way to upskill yourself in a short amount of time at a reasonable cost.

“Employability skills are general skills that are necessary for success in the labor market at all employment levels and in all sectors. These skills have several names – soft skills, workforce readiness skills, career readiness skills – but they all speak to the same set of core skills that employers want.” – U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE)

Closing the Skills Gap in Higher Education

By acquiring micro-credential at Accredicity, we exist to help build a better bridge between the higher education gap connecting job seekers (students) to job providers (employers).

Soft Skills Gap

Research results are decisive, soft skills are important, and most entry-level employees do not have such skills. U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a member of the Senate Education Committee, said that “97% of employers agreed that soft skills are essential. However, 18 months after their first day at the job, 46% of employees fail. Out of this 46%, 89% failed because they don’t have such soft skills”. A 2014 survey from Gallup discovered that only 11 percent of business leaders believed the “graduates have the skills and competencies that their workplaces need.” Employers agree that their staff would benefit from soft skills development. Unfortunately, less than a third offers anything to their staff because they lack a curriculum or training program. The lack of top-down communication causes the soft skills gap. If an organization does not mention soft skills in its mission or vision statements, why would an employee think they were important to learn or practice on the job. Unfortunately, the shortage of soft skills has worsened over the years, and the traditional education system hasn’t been effective at closing the skill gap. The goal is to reduce the skills gaps between employers’ recruitment processes and attain job opportunities by individuals seeking employment. Unfortunately, “only 31% of employers actually provide soft skill development training to their employees” and the education system has not supported closing this skill gap since a Pew Research Center survey said that Two-thirds of students aren’t getting the skills they need for the workplace. Graduates don’t feel ready either. McGraw-Hill survey found that “only 41 percent [of students] say they consider themselves very or extremely prepared for their careers.”

Technology Gap

According to McKinsey Global Institute research, as many as half (50%) of current work activities have the potential to be automated or no longer be needed by 2055. In addition, because soft skills are much harder to replicate via automation and AI, it’s estimated to be a quarter (24%) percent rise in performing soft skills on-the-job by workers in developed countries. According to a joint paper by Microsoft and Mckinsey, 30% to 40% of future jobs by 2030 will depend on soft skills. According to a survey on The Global Skills Shortage by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 30% of Candidates do not have the right workplace soft skills. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report on the Future of Education and Skills 2030 published in 2019 explained that “globalization and rapid growth in technology and artificial intelligence in the world are the drivers of the need for employees with soft skills.” Many entry-level job responsibilities are being automated and replaced by software. The global economy is now online, leading people to continually learn new skills to stay on top of the fast-moving workplace trends. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), by 2025, 85 million jobs may be displaced by the technology gap in work between humans and machines. However, this shift will make uniquely human skills more valuable and create more than 2 million jobs requiring these softer competencies. In addition, Deloitte reported that “soft skill-intensive occupations will account for two-thirds of all jobs by 2030.” Providing job retraining and re-skilling to enable individuals to learn marketable new skills throughout their lifetime will be a critical challenge.

Ask yourself these questions:

Did it make you more employable?

Did it help achieve your goals and dreams?

Was it worth the cost, time, and energy?

Higher Education for Gig Workers

Gig Workers are Welcome

Paradoxically, more and more traditional higher education institutions hire gig workers. Yet, their curriculum is trapped in an outdated mindset that primarily prepares their graduates to work as traditional employees in full-time jobs. According to the Harvard Business Review, 30 to 40% of the U.S. workforce is estimated to join the Gig Economy. Therefore, Are today’s graduates ready to be self-employed, consultants, independent contractors, freelancers, and on-demand workers? Simply put, no. Currently, students are ill-equipped and unprepared to enter the independent work world and succeed as independent workers. The Gig Economy is disrupting the way they hire, and therefore higher education should evolve with this trend.

At Accredicity, we believe, is preparing our graduates for today’s independent workforce, not the traditional jobs of yesterday. This is why we focus on teaching basic entrepreneurial skills to run a small business to better prepare our graduates for the new Gig Economy. These professional skills can help them work independently successfully, expand and improve their career services and offerings, and teach them to learn new skills that can be reframed to prepare graduates to do independent and entrepreneurial work to build a portfolio of gigs on Upwork, Fiverr, Craigslist, or LinkedIn. Ultimately, this can help individuals pursue work they love, quit traditional jobs, start their businesses or consulting agencies, move to new locations, or travel the world working remotely. The impact of teaching a new type of higher education for the Gig Economy on a student’s professional and personal lives allows them to choose the work they want to do, live in any place they like, and not have to commute.  At ​​Accredicity, our Alumni Network’s career services recognize the importance of independent work in the Gig economy. In today’s marketplace, it’s not just about helping students find jobs; it’s also about finding gigs.

At Accredicity, this enormous challenge faced by government, businesses, and people presents an opportunity to offer our universal skill-based education to employers as solutions for customized training programs for individuals. By helping learners at all stages of life take advantage of their experience education and closing the education gaps that hold them back from attaining their life and career goals. This is why Accredicity can help you realize your career goals by providing the education you need to bridge the gap and earn the credentials to launch a new meaningful career.

Meaningful Work for Life

Why is it so important to be satisfied at work?

Work often defines us as humans. After asking for your name or where you come from, most people ask you what you do? Our job or career validates us, but it can also hold us back from our full potential. Unfortunately, 70% of workers say they don’t feel satisfied with their career choices. In addition, it’s challenging to find a career path that makes us feel satisfied and successful. The traditional higher educational learner journey is not easy. Most think they’ll need to put their life on hold, get a 4-year degree, often get into student debt, and worry what if they don’t complete it. Accredicity’s shorter-form credentials are a low-pressure way to upskill or reskill yourself to make a meaningful transformation of your life. Fortunately, seeking deep career satisfaction motivates you not to give up on this journey to reach higher levels of success and satisfaction. So, open yourself and focus on finding your intrinsic motivation for work that resonates with you. Engaging work makes you feel satisfied and creates a state of mind that transforms your life.

How can we help you pursue a meaningful life?

At Accredicity, we champion the values of meaningful existentialism, which means that we believe everyone has the right to lead a meaningful life. We think mastering new knowledge and skills is the key to finding what makes your life meaningful. This drives everything we must do, from making higher education better to helping our graduates seek meaningful careers. The reality is we spend one-third, or maybe even more if you are ambitious, of our life at work. Therefore, if you don’t like your job or are unhappy in your career, it’s fair to assume that other areas of your life will suffer. Instead, imagine if each career move made you even happier. Imagine if you could self-actualize through your career. Over time, workers wanted better answers to the question: Why am I doing this? Today’s workforce is now asking themselves: What’s important? What matters to me? What’s sacred to me? What are my priorities in life? What impact do I want to have? What do I want my legacy to be? This is why, at Accredicity, we focus on empowering you with stackable credentials to help grow your career and find new, more rewarding job opportunities to help you reach your full potential. Seeking out meaningful challenges and the resulting successes fills our lives with meaning. It allows us to regain our purpose, reclaim control, and turn our life around to pull us forward in pursuit of health, wealth, and happiness.

Why is “Meaningful Work” so important?

First of all, “Meaningless” work is a big problem. According to a YouGov poll, 20% or 1 in 5 American workers considered their jobs meaningless. Meaningless work, according to Jing Hu and Jacob Hirsch, psychologists at the University of Toronto, leads to “alienation, anxiety, emotional exhaustion, and boredom,” which is a perfect prescription for burnout, which is one of the key drivers behind the Great Resignation when millions have quit their jobs. Depending on the polls, somewhere between 39% and 95% of individuals were pondering quitting their jobs in 2021. Therefore, it’s clearer that individuals are more interested in meaningful work than ever. Workers want new pathways into good jobs helping them to better themselves at companies helping improve the world. Michael Steger, a psychology professor at Colorado State University who studies meaning, explains that when individuals engage in meaningful work, they are more productive, get better ratings, are better team members, put in more discretionary work hours, better brand ambassadors, “more engaged in the work, more likely to be proactive about developing their skills, and less likely to call in sick, burn out, or quit.” In addition, a Harvard Business School study found that 9 out of 10 workers were willing to take less money for more meaningful work. In the last decade, there’s been an evolution in attitudes, with students talking less about money and more about mission and purpose. This is why, from a professional standpoint, employers, HR professionals, and hiring managers want to hire meaning-seeking candidates and employees. However, from a personal perspective, Steger also says that when you have meaningful work, you are happier, more motivated, feel more enriched, less depressed, lower stress, and serve as a fundamental source of belonging. Simply put, people with meaningful work thrive. Meaningful work makes you feel energized, propels you forward, and gives you intrinsic motivation to help create a career where they feel engaged in your flow state and, in turn, help others inspire others to lead a meaningful, mission-aligned, and purposeful life.

How to Make Work Meaningful?

First, we must define what Meaningful Work is? According to Joe Keohane, who wrote an article on “What is meaningful work?” for the Entrepreneur Magazine, there is no current consensus over the definition of meaningful work. Similar to the meaning of life itself, it isn’t any one thing, and by nature, it’s “personal, subjective, elusive, and episodic.” An infinite variety of sources give work meaning within an infinite variety of contexts of the type of work to be done.  Overall, meaningful work is a question of the more meaning an individual can fit into a job, the more meaningful the job will be. Initially, meaningful work pays for meeting your basic necessities of life at the basic level. Although it’s impossible to define meaningful work, several research studies found different work characteristics that are more likely to make workers find their work meaningful. If you are interested in reading more about this research on Meaningful Work, we highly recommend reading Keohane’s full article. For example, a “model, from Brent Rosso at the University of Michigan in 2010, proposed four pathways to meaningful work: A worker must feel personally valuable, share principles with those they work with, stay connected to their sense of self, and serve something greater than themselves.” Employers, managers, executives, and entrepreneurs can’t create meaning for their workforce. Still, they can, however, make a meaningful environment in which individual students, candidates, and employees can create meaning for themselves. Employers must understand that not all individuals need meaningful work in some cases. Not everyone will consider their job a higher calling. They just need it to play its part in the larger whole of their lives. This will help us create a customized solution for everyone’s sense of meaning. This will require companies to rethink their strategies to accommodate their workers’ needs in this purpose-driven future. The real question for leaders is to figure out how to make work more purposeful by creating environments where people do what they love and that results in good business outcomes. For as many paths to finding one’s meaning, there should be as many educational paths to finding one’s career. We believe it’s crucial to create a diversity of educational pathways for diverse students and graduates.

“We believe everyone has the right to lead a meaningful life.” – Alexi Drouin

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