• Recruiting solutions: How EY is helping prepare students for a future workforce [video]

    June 12, 2017 by

     

    The skills gap has been well researched, particularly surrounding tech skills. Most employers, however, don’t need researchers to tell them that their recruiting strategies still aren’t attracting the skills they need for their future workforce. As the gap threatens to get wider, employers must consider big recruiting solutions. EY decided to face this challenge head on.

    College Recruiter recently spoke with Natasha Stough, Americas Director of Campus Recruiting at EY. EY was facing this very challenge, and they wanted to help prepare entry-level hires right out of college so that they would be able to succeed in a fast-changing industry. Employers with a need to increase the skills of their new hires entering the workforce can learn from EY’s solution.

    Through the Ernst & Young Foundation, EY created an Academic Resource Center (ARC), which now serves as their one-stop shop for college faculty in accounting and related disciplines across the country. With collaboration of university faculty, it provides access to relevant and timely curricula materials on cutting edge topics that are developed specifically for use in university classrooms, helping to prepare students in skills like analytics.

    Scroll down to watch the video of our discussion with Natasha and hear her account of EY’s success in creating the Academic Resource Center. 

    Changes in workforce demands requires a big solution

    EY developed the ARC when the organization was advocating the adoption of a single global set of accounting standards, the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). According to Natasha Stough, EY “immediately started hearing directly from faculty around their concerns that there weren’t a lot of textbooks and information around IFRS to help prepare their students for when they join the workforce.” The Foundation created the EY ARC as a one-stop-shop to offer free curriculua materials in response to faculty’s needs, particularly given the highly regulated public accounting environment in which EY operates, allowing them to “upskill their students and help better prepare them for the fast pace of change in the global marketplace.”

    Colleges and universities may not know what skills are required in practice, until employers help them. Schools want to advance their programs but as the cost of college goes up, they must evolve and stay relevant, or their program will just die off.

    The ARC relies on relationships. EY’s approach is to share timely information about what is happening in practice with EY leaders, who often sit on advisory boards of business schools. It’s important for faculty to approve the curriculum, and in turn, information comes back to EY about the needs of the schools. EY gathers these insights and develops materials on topics where there is the most need.

    “For the good of the profession”–demonstrating the ROI of a faculty resource center

    Building a center like EY’s ARC is a significant investment, especially when you consider the collaboration needed—with faculty and with the experienced professionals—that requires an enormous amount of time and financial support.

    First, Stough says that EY can track who uses the ARC and how much. It is only open to faculty from non-profit, higher education institutions. In addition to being able to the number of users, EY can also measure which materials are used the most, and from which schools across the country.

    In addition, however, EY gets direct feedback that supports the ROI. Stough says, “We hear constantly from faculty about the value the materials bring to them to help enrich the experience they’re providing to their students in the classroom to ensure they are learning the most current and relevant knowledge. We also hear how helpful it is for students to be able to gain insights into the pace of change in the accounting profession.”

    The obvious benefit is that faculty improve their understanding of where employers hold the bar in their field. Ultimately, says Stough, “We want to help them develop future employees. It’s for the good of the profession.” The brand building is not insignificant either. By providing meaningful resources, EY knows they are positioning themselves to faculty as a thought leader.

    Given how technology like AI and robotics changes the workforce and education, “we have to help,” says Stough. The technology skills that students learn in year one of college will change in four years; employers need students who will be life-long learners.

    A good resource center has a variety of materials

    EY provides a lot of different content in the ARC. There are user guides, lecture notes, presentations, data sets, analytic workbooks, webcasts, how-to videos, cases, and homework assignments for students. EY even offers to bring their own professionals into their classroom.

    One key in creating good content is to keep the dialogue open. Faculty should provide feedback about the materials available, and what might be missing, considering leading-edge topics and technology. Stough says, “Our goal is to make it real. We want to give good examples and bring this content to life through these different formats.”

    That’s key too: bringing it to life. Without making the content easy to find and navigate, users will likely disengage. EY decided to even color-code some of its content and provide competency frameworks as well. That way, says Stough, “faculty can use chunks of content, or the entire thing, and understand how the material correlates to competencies they want to focus on.”

    It’s no secret that employers demand soft skills, and public accounting firms are no different, so EY has made sure to include non-accounting skill sets in the ARC. “We consider leading-edge topics to enhance life skills, of soft skills, for the future of the profession. We recently built materials around an Analytics Mindset, that is critical for frankly anyone,” says Stough.

    EY’s Academic Resource Center is an overall recruiting solution

    While an employer can track employee performance, “at the end of the day,”Stough says, you may not be able to draw a direct correlation between one individual’s performance and their association with the resource center. Students take so many classes, and building a resource center must stay focused on engaging faculty to understand the future skills needed. However, Stough does say that she’s seeing a change in the students she meets. Two major areas of EY’s focus have been soft skills and the importance of analyzing and interpreting data. “We’re now seeing more students come in knowing the difference between communicating via email or text.” Additionally, her team is “starting to see a diversification in the skills that students are bringing to the world of where we’re at, like concepts like an analytics mindset and the importance of data.

    Addressing the challenges of a resource center

    Developing a resource center full of relevant materials won’t stay relevant for long. The biggest challenge for EY, says Stough, is remaining current. She says they must ensure that they continue to integrate new content. “We want to make sure we’re meeting the needs of faculty. We are not going to tell them what they need to teach but we will provide resource that we believe to be valuable.”

    To achieve this, Stough stresses the need to maintain strong relationships with faculty, because they provide critical feedback. They want to know how useful their center is, and other topics where “faculty may be looking to gain more information.”

    They also keep doing outreach to build and maintain relationships. They engage with the American Accounting Association and many of their sub groups. As people like Stough travel to college campuses, they make sure to spend time with faculty, deans and department chairs, highlighting the ARC as a resource for them.

    “We want to be at the forefront,” says Stough. “Because it is our job to partner and support the universities to help them drive the curriculum so that their students are ready to join the workforce.”

    Watch our discussion below with EY’s Natasha Stough to hear about how their Academic Resource Center is preparing students for a future workforce:

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  • Strategies for recruiting data analytics and related skills

    June 09, 2017 by

     

    Do employers truly understand their own dire need for data analytics, or more broadly, data science and analytics skills? A new report says that by 2020, new job postings that require these skills will hit 2.72 million. There is a concerning gap between the expectations of educators and the expectations of business executives when it comes to getting students ready for the job market. That is according to a study released by the Business-Higher Education Forum and PwC.

    If you are like most employers, in the next several years you will prefer job candidates with data science and analytics skills. And yet, only 23 percent of educators believe their graduates will possess those skills.

    The report makes concrete suggestions for both employers and higher education. Here, we will highlight the recommendations for employers who need to harness skills in data science and analytics.

    What exactly are data science and analytics skills?

    According to the report, “The term analytics refers to the synthesis of knowledge from information. It’s one of the steps in the data life cycle: collection of raw data, preparation of information, analytics, visualization, and access. Data science is the extraction of actionable knowledge directly from data through either a process of discovery, or hypothesis formulation and hypothesis testing.”

    People who need to make data-driven decisions include directors in Human Resources, Marketing, IT, and the C-suite. Data science jobs include systems analysts, data administrators, business intelligence analysts, data engineers and much more.

    This skills gap affects much more than just data scientists. Jobs from the C-suite to the frontlines are increasingly affected by the need for analytics. According to the report, this is a revolution. “As with the revolution in work brought on by the personal computer (PC) 30 years ago, data science and analytics, hand in hand with machine intelligence and automation, are creating a new revolution in work.”

    Businesses who do not attract and retain talent in data science and analytics will eventually be outcompeted.

    What does a business do to attract and retain skills in data science and analytics?

    The report details four recommendations to employers:

    1. Look beyond the diploma and hire for skills, too.

    It’s time to admit that a degree is only a proxy for skill sets. While recruiters can argue the effectiveness of using proxies, it just doesn’t work with DSA skills. The market for these skills is full of disconnected dots. STEM grads are not necessarily prepared to use DSA in business, and business grads are not necessarily taught DSA skills. There is a growing number of DSA degrees, but they haven’t been around long enough for many recruiters to trust their viability, let alone assume they will make the list of annual campus visits.

    Where does this leave us? According to the report, “It is left to hiring managers and recruiters to determine how candidates meet skill requirements in this changing environment. To do that they need two things: 1) a common nomenclature to trade in DSA competencies and skills; and 2) a closer, more collaborative relationship with higher education aimed at creating programs that will provide job candidates with the skills they need.”

    Researchers have identified skills common to data science jobs across broad skill groups. Those are:

    • Applied domain skills (research or business)
    • Data analytics and machine learning
    • Data management and curation
    • Data science engineering
    • Scientific or research methods
    • Personal and interpersonal communication skills

    Employers shouldn’t expect to find all of the above skills in one individual. Rather, they should use these skill groups as a guide to forming teams whose members collectively have a full skill set.

    These skills fall into three categories that employers should assess: data analysis, decision-making and problem-framing: Continue Reading

  • Career and job competencies of liberal arts graduates [video]

    March 20, 2017 by

     

    There is a public perception that liberal arts graduates are somehow less valuable. Dr. Ascan Koerner with the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota will tell you why the opposite is true. College Recruiter connected Dr. Koerner with Todd Raphael of ERE Media to learn what his team is doing to make sure employers understand the relevancy of liberal arts students and graduates. A video of Todd Raphael’s and Dr. Koerner’s discussion is below. 

    According to Dr. Koerner, we have seen more public discussion in the last 5-10 years about the value of higher education, generally speaking. The arguments for what is valuable have primarily focused on STEM education. (That is, science, technology, engineering and math.) Some believe that in order to be competitive in an international job market, one really has to be focused on STEM. At one end of the spectrum, we see the Governor of Kentucky, who has questioned why universities even have liberal arts programs at all. This makes liberal arts students—and their parents—nervous. Dr. Koerner says that at the University of Minnesota, students are asking how liberal is helpful in their careers. He says their belief in the value of liberal arts has never wavered, “but the question hasn’t been posed to us in such stark terms.”

    Employers already value liberal arts, but they don’t realize it

    Overall, employers already know the value of liberal arts. The problem is, they don’t recognize it as liberal arts. When you ask employers, for example, what they value, they cite competencies that are quintessential typical liberal arts. At the top of their lists are analytical/critical thinking, communication, leadership, ethnical decision making, and engaging diversity.” Employers know what they value, but the job candidates—the liberal arts students—aren’t always good at explaining their own value. So while colleges and universities bear some of the burden of convincing employers, students bear most of that responsibility. A philosophy major may embody the exact skills needed but when you ask him how his education prepared him for a career in corporate America, he has a hard time. That is why it is so important to engage and prepare students for answering those questions. When the students eloquently explain their own competencies, that is more convincing to an employer than if the institution were to explain the overall value of liberal arts grads.  Continue Reading

  • Oven-ready hires: The problem of matching available skills to our demands

    October 28, 2016 by

    Oven ready dishGuest writer Martin Edmondson, CEO and founder of Gradcore

    It feels like there is an ever-growing consensus among employers that university graduates should emerge fully formed, perfectly skilled and immediately work ready. The phrase ‘oven ready’ graduates appears far too often for my liking. It oversimplifies what is ultimately a very complicated issue: How do you match the supply of skills and people with the demands of the economy, when both are moving targets? In other words, how much should employers compromise when searching for the ideal candidate? How much should they training should they assume?

     

    This is such a significant issue in the UK that the government has created a ‘Teaching Excellence Framework’ for universities. One of its goals is to tackle “skill mismatches” in the economy. (Go figure that the same government is now limiting their own access to skilled talent via immigration clampdowns.)

    Every employer presents unique circumstances. So it’s critical for employers to examine their fundamental approach to hiring with a few questions such as:

    • What characterizes the hires you make that are successful, and those that are not?
    • What is the most critical factor for fit with your organization – skills, values, attitude etc?
    • How recently did you evaluate what is really important in the people you hire?
    • If all the evidence says that those people are not available for that price in this place, which one of those variables are you prepared to change?

    Here is the challenge: So many employers are seeking candidates with the skills that are in shortage areas. This is typically around digital and software roles where there is a major disconnect between employer requirements and the quality and quantity of graduates available. Employers (and policy makers who are trying to solve these problems) should try one of the following:

    1. Grow your own

    This is the long game, but often one of the most successful approaches if you have the time. Recruit graduates who have the core attributes or values that suit your organisation, but need to develop their skills further. Then put in place the structured training that will develop them. This could be in house training, or delivered under emerging models such as degree-apprenticeships.

    2. Think differently

    Stop looking at the really obvious candidates. This could be described as the Blue Ocean approach, getting away from where everyone else is fishing. Recently I saw a very interesting post from a company called Talla about mapping resumes using neural networks. This visual approach helps you to appreciate that people who superficially have seemingly different backgrounds are actually remarkably similar. Each of the dots below is a resume. This shows how different titles share characteristics:Point graph of title descriptions on resumes

     

     

     

     

     

    3. Up the budget

    Sometimes you simply need to either increase the budget in order to reach a wider audience, or increase salary to attract the necessary skills. While it’s never ideal, there are clearly certain economic realities that are hard to escape.

    Underlying all of this is a bigger societal question, which will be answered differently in different countries:

    Whose job is it to make a person employable?

    Is it the role of the education system and teachers? Employers? Parents or the state? Or are we all solely responsible for our own development? All play a part, but the prevailing national answer to this question goes a long way to deciding the expectations employers have of graduates and vice versa.

     

    Look forward to discussing this and lots of other topics around college recruiting at the College Recruiter Bootcamp in Washington DC on December 8.

    martin-edmondsonMartin is the CEO and founder of Gradcore, a social enterprise focused on graduate employment and employability. Martin has more than 15 years of experience in graduate recruitment and Higher Education. He founded Gradcore, and over the last decade has led a wide range of graduate recruitment and employability projects. These include running global graduate schemes for a range of large employers, delivering employability performance improvement in universities, and chairing the UK and European Graduate Employment Conferences. Martin was a member of the steering group for the ‘graduate recruitment in SMEs’ report for the UK government and has written for a wide range of newspapers and websites. Connect with Martin on LinkedIn.

  • Benefits of using video and phone interviews in recruiting

    April 27, 2016 by
    Female boss talking with applicants online on video conference courtesy of Shutterstock.com

    Photographee.eu/Shutterstock.com

    While face-to-face interviews have not become obsolete, new interviewing methods are becoming more popular today. Video and phone interviews not only benefit job candidates but also benefit recruiters. Recruiters can save time and learn more about candidates to make the best hiring decisions. Andre Lavoie, CEO and Co-Founder of ClearCompany, explains why video and phone interviews are effective in college recruiting.

    “Video interviewing benefits both candidates and hiring managers. For an organization, pre-recorded screening questions create a consistent candidate experience by asking the same questions to applicants the same way. Candidates benefit because the technology is easily accessible and simple to use — just hit record.

    Before in-person interviews, companies want to know the basics such as candidates’ skill sets, ambitions, what they can contribute to the company, etc. All of this valuable information is easy to gather through phone and video interviews.

    The problem many organizations face when recruiting college students and recent graduates is a skills gap they possess and the skills needed to get the job done. While these interviews don’t fix the skills gap, they give recruiters a better understanding of the candidates. Recruiters can evaluate them more efficiently to avoid eliminating top talent who may not communicate their potential as clearly on their resumes, as they can when responding to specific questions. This affects the quality of hire, the most important measurement that tells employers how well their hiring teams recruit.

    When using video interviews, recruiters are effectively finding high quality candidates and eliminating those who fall short. Additionally, they are reducing time to hire significantly and improving their return on investment (ROI).

    We use our own talent management platform, which offers a video interviewing feature that seamlessly integrates candidates’ recorded responses with the applicant tracking system. This allows the entire hiring team to engage by watching the recordings at their convenience and collaborating by providing feedback through the platform.”

    Do you want to learn more about phone and video interviews? Head to our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

    Andre Lavoie, CEO and Co-Founder of ClearCompany

    Andre Lavoie, CEO and Co-Founder of ClearCompany

    Andre Lavoie is the CEO of ClearCompany, the first talent alignment platform that bridges the gap between talent management and business strategy by contextualizing employees’ work around a company’s vision and goals. You can connect with him and the ClearCompany team on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

  • Is It Getting Difficult to Find Entry Level Jobs?

    April 14, 2014 by

    Job seekers, if it is getting difficult to find entry level jobs, the following post might have a reasonable explanation why.

    However Borwein’s project, in which she’s tallied up the demands made by employers in job advertisements posted in the “entry-level” sections of three major Canadian career websites, is eye-opening. Preliminary results…

    Excerpt from:

    Continue Reading

  • Seeking Career Advancement from Your Entry Level Job? Improve Your Skill Set

    January 28, 2014 by

    Would you like to advance from your entry level job?  If so, then improving your skills is a good idea.  Learn some ways to do so in the following post.

    A job seeker commented about doing very well at the job interview; then, apparently, performing poorly on a test of her skills specific to a software package required for the job. She isn’t alone; this scenario plays out far too often…

    Continue reading –

    Continue Reading