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A Google for recent graduates

Quim Bernardo Blanco - Human Resources Director HP Iberia

With the information age in full swing and at a time when Web 3.0 intelligent networks are becoming common knowledge, we have been going over the idea of a website, coordinated by the different universities, to assist the transition of recent graduates to the professional world of industry and enterprise, services and the labour market in general. And unless I am missing something, in my modest opinion there is no argument about it: every necessary effort must be made to make such information available to the business world, which would be administered by a consortium of universities or an accepted intermediary and, of course, with the consent of the recent graduate. One design parameter would be that the information would need to be of high quality and up-to-date. There has been experience with this in Italy and the UK and, to be quite honest, I congratulate them for anticipating something that is ultimately inevitable, whether we want it and like it or not. If the universities do not take the initiative, some outside agent will do so, and more than likely that someone will not take into account design parameters that are of interest to the universities and enterprises, or not just those parameters but others as well. I am not revealing anything new when I say that it is absolutely essential for the universities to continually review the educational programmes that they offer and I know that they search for this information in different sources (although I believe more opportunities exist for them to be more active than they actually are), and I am not sure whether, for example, they have the information that graduates themselves could provide after having been active in the labour market for some time.

As I see it, a comprehensive Google search engine for recent graduates is needed; Enterprise/firm: enter the characteristics, a search profile of their professional opportunities and up will come the candidates from the universities, all discriminated, with quality information that will enable it to be much more efficient in its selection processes. It will give the graduates' marks in each subject, if they have been abroad, foreign languages that they speak… University: look for the firms that recent graduates in different university degrees are most interested in, what has happened to them several years later...

At a moment of demographic ill omen, in terms of the availability of recent graduates to satisfy demand, the network of universities that moves ahead and offers this type of solution will be indispensable and highly respected in the market.

What barriers could the universities face? One is possibly the fact that transparency in a system like this leads us precisely to transparency, and therefore clarity, in terms of the quality of their education in relation to the number of graduates recruited on completing their university studies. I am well aware that this is not, nor should not be, the only factor that determines the quality of education, but it is an important one. Nevertheless, and let us not fool ourselves, it is public knowledge that industry knows which universities to go to and many firms do so even before the students have finished their studies. So would a search engine for recent graduates result in a ranking of universities according to disciplines? Even better! I am convinced this would give the universities another point of reference for defining what they want to achieve. Let us not forget that the "fight for talent" that enterprises are facing at the moment, given the scarcity of graduates, is also affecting the universities, which have to attract students. Would it mean the end of each university's careers office? No, I do not think so, although I am sure it would have an impact on the way things are done, on the success parameters, although they would continue to be a point of reference for all of us.

Is it clear whose responsibility it is to facilitate the transition between the university to enterprise? From my point of view, the first person responsible is the recent graduate, who must have the energy, the clarity and determination as far as what he/she wants to do in the immediate future. Not all of the responsibility is on the graduate, however —enterprises and universities have the responsibility to set in motion systems that provide access to the labour market. My view is that the more effort firms and universities put into the transparency of información and the matching up of supply and demand, more help and support will be given to graduates to enable them to choose and decide what they really want to do and to be successful in their professional careers.


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