In recent years we have seen a heightened appreciation of investment in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines as a vehicle that can boost innovation. There has been a noticeable uptick in STEM graduates in many areas of the world, particularly in the Asia Pacific and Japan region which generate a consistently high volume of quality STEM graduates year in, year out.
This is an encouraging development to help bridge the apparent “skills gap” of the next generation. However, with fewer certainties about what career a degree will lead to, employers understandably want graduates to be better prepared for the workplace and thus seek those who are job-ready.
In a world where business IT skills are in short supply, investing in helping to equip students with technical and transformational skills, on top of theoretical skills should be high on the agenda. Increasingly, organizations are looking for IT professionals with core business knowledge to cope with managing lifecycles, relationship management, and project management.
With Forrester suggesting that analytics, loyalty programs, and agility (among other things) will be crucial for business success in 2016, practical upskilling in these areas, on top of general IT skills, should be prioritized. Yet the responsibility for filling this gap in skills and knowledge must be shared between businesses and universities, with awareness on both sides of the complexities of the other.