As I discussed in my Thinking Out Loud, In Public post, I believe the traditional journey from education to employment is fundamentally broken for the majority of young people. And here’s why I hold that belief:
84.6% of high schoolers graduate high school. More than two-thirds go on to enroll in college (69.7%). Then, just over half graduate with a degree within 6 years (60%). And then, just over half secure a degree-level jobs (54%).
Our most lauded education to employment pathway adequately serves just one-fifth (1 x 84.6% x 69.7% x 60% x 54% = 19.1%) of those who participate in it.
It is broken. And believe it can be unbroken.
One of the earliest Aha! moments when we set out to build Wayfindr came thanks, in large part, to an excellent study and accompanying report undertaken by McKinsey & Company . In the report, the journey from education to employment was described as a highway with three critical intersections. Loosely, they were:
Intersection 1. Transitioning into post-secondary education;
Intersection 2. Acquiring relevant knowledge and skills, and;
Intersection 3. Transitioning into employment.
And we conceived a fourth:
Intersection 4. Maintaining relevant knowledge and skills.
The addition of a fourth intersection was perhaps one of the most decisive moments in Wayfindr’s early development.
It cemented our position that not only did we want to create a platform that ensures students acquire suitable knowledge and skills before graduation (intersection 2) and a broad universe of job options available to them upon graduation (intersection 3), but we also wanted to ensure that they maximized their careers shortly after graduation (intersection 4).
Nearly three-quarters of lifetime earnings growth occurs within the first ten years of graduating. It is a critical time in one’s life that has long-lasting effects.
It follows that, in any economy, acquiring marketable knowledge and skills is important both during and soon after after college.
And this is especially true in the economy we find ourselves in today. One in which the increasing destabilization of skills demand brought about by the 4th industrial revolution, a period of accelerating technological innovation and adoption, compounds the ongoing need to upskill and reskill further still.
Wayfindr: A careers platform, not a jobs site
Jobs sites provide a marketplace for jobseekers to periodically visit to find jobs. They, at least partly, satisfy intersection 3 (transitioning into employment) only.
Wayfindr is distinct from job sites in at least two significant ways.
First, jobseekers do not periodically visit Wayfindr to find jobs. They remain on Wayfindr throughout their careers navigating, with the help of intelligent aids like My Campaigns and My Skills, a landscape of employment and education career opportunities.
This proactive, interconnected, and ongoing – rather than reactive, disjointed, and sporadic – approach to career management is fundamentally different to anything that has come before. Accordingly, we describe it as Wayfinding. A term commonly used to describe an iterative approach used by product designers or explorers when solving complex problems or navigating complex spaces.
An additional benefit to this approach is that Wayfindr has the potential to quintuple the pool in which employers look for talent. Job sites contain resumes (resumes, ugh!) uploaded by active job seekers only. It is estimated that at any give time only 20% of people are actively job seeking. A platform that provides utility to both active (20%) and passive (80%) job seekers can therefore give employers 5 times the talent; a significant advantage in tackling talent and skill shortages in the tight – and ever tightening – jobs market of 2019.
Second, in addition to intersection 3, Wayfindr also satisfies intersections 2 and 4.
That is, acquiring relevant knowledge and skills before graduation (intersection 2), thanks to our patent-pending Student Status and Student Skills tools for educators.
And, maintaining relevant knowledge and skills after graduation (intersection 4), thanks to our patent-pending Skills Engine which seamlessly transmits skills information from those who demand skills (employers) to those who supply skills (individuals) via those who train skills (educators) in real-time.
Ahem… what about Intersection 1
Transitioning into post-secondary education… Well, we’re working on it. In two distinct ways:
First, we’re reinforcing the on and off-ramps between the critical intersections.
Wayfindr focuses on entry, junior, and mid-level roles. And, unlike most graduate job sites who (of course) provide access only to graduates, we allow employers to express an openness to job seekers with “some college” by segmenting and broadening “entry-level” roles beyond just those who have graduated.
This allows job seekers who have begun, but not finished a college education to extract some value from their acceptance into a good college and partial completion of a good degree; a category reflecting 40% of all college students. Further expanding the opportunity for employers to address talent and skill shortages in a tight – and further tightening – market.
To actually address intersection 1, rather than the on and off-ramps adjacent to it, we need data that doesn’t exist today.
No comprehensive, real-time data on the skills required for employment exists today. And consequently, no data on the performance of specific education providers in delivering those skills exist today.
The Wayfindr ecosystem – a single, accessible, information-rich marketplace for individuals, employers, and educators – is set to begin filling that data gap today. And we aim to deploy it to further unify and empower young people, educators, employers, and policymakers tomorrow.
Thanks for reading.
Founder & CEO, Wayfindr