Universities and Industries: A Proactive Partnership Shaping the Future of Work
According to recent projections, 65% of current undergraduate students will be employed, upon graduation, in jobs that do not exist today . Looking further ahead, 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 have not yet been invented . With the majority or future jobs unknown and their job descriptions undefined, how do universities prepare their students for successful careers in industry?
Likewise, industries with evolving workforces are facing increasing pressure to identify and hire candidates who are well-suited to make an impact in these newly-defined positions. A recent study found that costs associated with searching, interviewing, offering, onboarding, and training a new employee costs a company 150% of the salary for the position hired . In addition, retaining top talent is proving difficult for companies in a U.S. job market exhibiting recent lows in unemployment. The stakes are high for industry to find the correct employee “fit:” someone who can make a positive impact in a relatively short amount of time and grow with the organization for years to come. Companies are increasingly turning to university partners for help.
Using the energy industry as case study, this paper will explore ways in which universities and industry are currently partnering to uncover the appropriate tools, identify desired skillsets, and determine the knowledge required for students to excel at future jobs whose descriptions remain undefined. Externally-facing offices in universities are engaging with corporate partners to identify disruptive trends in industry and ways in which their respective workforces will be impacted. The paper will highlight ways in which Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) seeks to identify, communicate, and incorporate industry needs and ideas across departments in order to positively impact the education and opportunities available to students at all levels. Industry engagement allows universities to capture a more realistic, evolving career landscape for current students as they set their sights on the workforce.
 Global Agenda Council on the Future of Jobs. (2018). The Future of Jobs Report (Rep.). World Economic Forum.
 Institute for the Future. (2017). The Next Era of Human/Machine Partnerships: Emerging Technologies' Impact on Society and Work in 2030 (p. 14, Rep.). Palo Alto, CA: Institute for the Future.
 Swartz, M. (n.d.). How Much Does Onboarding New Employees Cost? | Monster.ca. Retrieved October 12, 2018, from https://hiring.monster.ca/hr/hr-best-practices/recruiting-hiring-advice/managing-hiring-costs/cost-of-onboarding-new-employees-canada.aspx
Are you a researcher? Would you like to cite this paper?
Visit the ASEE document repository at
for more tools and easy citations.