Training and HR Expected to Close Education Gap
Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Today’s education system is falling short in its preparation of college grads for the workplace, according to Aberdeen’s recent report, HCM Trends 2014: Developing a Critical Eye for Talent. Based on data collected in November and December 2013, only 10 percent of organizations believe that college hires are ready to contribute to business-driven initiatives as quickly as other new hired.

Surprising to some is that the skills gap is not limited to specific industries. Instead, critical thinking skills (53 percent) and general business skills (45 percent) are some of the biggest holes among college new hires. Also making the list of skills gaps are personal leadership ability (27 percent), writing (20 percent), and presentation skills (18 percent).


Unfortunately, only 12 percent of companies in Aberdeen’s 2014 HCM trends survey identified working with educational institutions a top priority. But if organizations want to stay competitive they will need to take an active role in developing their college grads. The Aberdeen Insight report, HR’s Role in Closing the Education Gap, identifies four best practices organizations may want to consider.

  • Identify critical skills. Every organization has roles critical to driving revenue and performance. However, according to Aberdeen, only 40 percent of organizations are able to identify those essential roles.
  • Communicate these critical skills and roles to education institutions. By providing the educational pipeline with this knowledge, they can better prepare students for the workplace. Aberdeen reminds organizations that this doesn’t have to be a complicated piece of the puzzle. They can simply meet regularly with career centers or participate in seminars.
  • Mentor students for the future. Nearly 50 percent of organizations mentor new hires as part of the onboarding process. Aberdeen advises organizations that they may want to start these sorts of relationships with college interns.
  • Engage talent when it is ready to enter the workforce. By creating stronger relationships with educational institutions, organizations can identify potential future workers, reach students, and engage with them throughout their school career.

For more information, download the free Aberdeen Insight report , HR’s Role in Closing the Education Gap.

About the Author

Ryann K. Ellis is an editor for the Association of Talent Development (ATD). She has been covering workplace learning and performance for ATD (formerly the American Society for Training & Development) since 1995. She currently manages ATD's Community of Practice blogs, as well as ATD's government-focused magazine, The Public Manager. Contact her at 

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