Higher Education Preparation for Future of Work

Nov 18, 2021 by

Corporations are becoming more vocal regarding the skills gap they feel is missing and that universities need to address within their curriculum. As explained by Dr. Jason Wingard, Temple University President, technologies are shifting at a rapid pace and business boundaries are evolving, becoming much more global than they have been in the past.

Jason Wingard and Christine Farrugia have also edited the new book titled The Great Skills Gap: Optimizing Talent for the Future of Work, which examines how colleges and universities should be preparing students for their future careers; it is written by a highly qualified group of educators, executives, and thought leaders. Key themes expressed in the book include disruption versus transformation credentials versus skills, technical skills versus human skills, vocational education versus liberal arts, learning versus unlearning, and higher education solutions versus employer solutions.

According to PwC, the shape that the workforce of the future takes will be the result of complex, changing, and competing forces. They assert that businesses, governments, and individuals need to be prepared for any number of possible outcomes. Deloitte also highlights ways in which the business community can contribute to the development and growth of the future workforce by reaching youth globally.

The Center for the Governance of Change with IBM. Research recently generated the highest resolution dataset to date on the curriculum and skills students are receiving in their tertiary education programs and how these compare with the demands of the labor market. One finding indicates that some universities are up to eight times better aligned with labor markets than others.

Konstantinou and Miller (2021) look at the ways work-based learning can help degree apprentices cross the gaps between the workplace and the classroom, advocating for problem-based learning. The authors conclude that students often don’t see how one informs and reinforces the other (workplace and classroom). Meanwhile, Brazier (2021) assessed experiential education and the impact the teaching approach can have on an undergraduate student’s soft skill development taking into consideration the intersection between contrasting higher educational programs, employer demands, and student needs.


How can higher education better prepare students for the future of work?


Work, higher education, skills gap, pedagogy, upskill, reskill, college, university, community college, workforce, CTE, career and technical education


Brazier, R. (2021). An exploration of the nature of students’ soft skills development in the context of experiential education in contrasting business management undergraduate courses (Doctoral dissertation, Anglia Ruskin University).

The Center for the Governance of Change. How Universities Mind the Skills Gap. Retrieved from https://www.ie.edu/cgc/research/higher-education-future-work/.

Konstantinou, I. and Miller, E. (2021). Self-managed and work-based learning: Problematising the workplace–classroom skills gap. Journal of Work-Applied Management, 13(1). https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/JWAM-11-2020-0048/full/html

Print Friendly, PDF & Email