High Time for a Seat at the Table for Career Services

It’s high time for Career Services to get a “full seat at the table” at their college, university, trade school or career school. Career Services can play an important strategic role in helping their institutions and organizations achieve more of their strategic objectives when they are no longer viewed as just filling a tactical (albeit important) role.

Let me give you an analogy. Remember back in the day when companies had personnel departments and the personnel manager was seen as the individual responsible for staffing the enterprise? This was an important tactical role in the last century. But the complexity of employment law, a changing workforce, globalization, technology, and other factors combined to require much, much more than just staffing. So personnel became human resources, and over the past ten years it has been morphing into human capital. Company presidents and boards of directors rely on the strategic input of HR/HC to help achieve enterprise key performance metrics and shape future direction.

Translate this to higher education. College presidents, senior admin, and boards of trustees are grappling with the strategic challenges of achieving their enrollment and retention objectives, global competition for students, facilities planning in the face of virtual learning, building endowments, engaging alumni, and more. Yet the career services function is seen in many institutions as simply a tactical function that offers career advice and guidance to students and graduates.

Here are three ways the Career Services can positively impact the school’s key strategic objectives.

Achieving Enrollment and Retention Objectives. Most schools rely heavily on their tuition revenue to cover operating expenses, so figuring out how to plan for future revenues and expenses is of key concern. This begs the question, “What will attract new students to the school, and keep them attending through to degree completion?” The answer: convince students that you will do a better job in connecting them to meaningful and desirable employment than their other choices. The Number One concern in America is JOBS…and Career Services is the institution’s top resource to make this happen. Career Services must be properly resourced to help more students and grads through career search education and coaching, so Career Services needs strategic input to the institution’s plan.

Global Competition for Students. A properly resourced Career Services function attracts students. In our 2010 university study of how students choose their schools, 100.0% of respondents said that the school’s placement record was a principal consideration of choosing their college or university. Almost 97% said they would select the school that taught career search education over those that did not offer such a course. When Career Services is both equipped with the right tools to assess student’s career search readiness and participates in the institution’s career search curriculum, they provide a compelling advantage for selecting that school. The school’s brand messaging should reflect its commitment to connecting its graduates to careers.

Engaging Alumni and Building Endowments. Let’s face it – if a student’s school did little to teach or assist him or her in obtaining employment following graduation, what motivation is there for the student to contribute financially to that school? For 99.9% of grads, contributions are made from the graduate’s employment income. Schools that require students to complete a career search course to graduate – and required them to engage with career services – will benefit from the financial support of those students when they are employed. And as alumni change employment they will engage at the career services level for continuing assistance…which provides more opportunities to seek their financial support.

As more and more schools begin to see the future impact of connecting their graduates to employment, Career Services must be ready to accept the challenge of helping their institutions guide future strategies.

Boyer Management Group works with colleges, universities, career and trade schools, government agencies and career coaches to help them become more effective in connecting people to careers. From our highly regarded career search curriculum From Classroom to Career to the world’s first assessment that measures what someone knows about conducting an effective career search, we help our clients achieve greater success in helping people get a better job faster. To learn more about how we can help your institution, organization, or practice please visit us at www.boyermanagement.com, email us at info@boyermanagement.com, or call us at 215-942-0982.

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