According to a survey conducted by the Vietnam Institute for Educational Research, up to 83 percent of university graduates are considered by employers to be lacking “life skills”.
Hard to define ‘soft skills’ – decision-making, working in teams, and time management – are major determining factors in the success of people. And university graduates seem to have learned everything but how to succeed.
This is a chronic complaint from employers here. I have some firsthand experience as an employer – first in the nonprofit and now in the private sector. Most universities are not equipped or otherwise prepared to meet these needs and demands; they are struggling to carry out the teaching dimension of their mission with all of its attendant challenges (e.g., overworked and underpaid faculty, overly theoretical, teacher-centered instruction, rote learning, inadequate materials and facilities, etc.).
The short-term solution, which some forward-looking students have discovered, is to gain practical experience through relevant part-time jobs, volunteer activities and quality internships, mentoring/shadowing of professionals, and the wealth of information on the Internet (e.g., Study Guides and Strategies website), to mention just a few.
I’m working on a project that focuses on career exploration and information, another urgent need among young people here and around the world. How to get from point A to B and, more importantly, how to make an informed decision about what point B should be in the first place.