TrustNavigator Blog

According to Peter Capelli, a professor at Wharton, since 2003 the number of apprenticeships in the United States is down 50%. In the same time, the number of internships has dropped by over 20%. In the 1980’s 10% of non-entry level jobs were filled from outside of companies, meaning that 90% of jobs were thru promotions. Today almost 70% of higher level jobs are hired outside of U.S. Companies’ current employee ranks. Companies have decided the value and cost of training is better left to others. Yet some companies continue to hire for the short term with low returns. Consider this, the average 50-year-old has had 5 jobs in their career and the average 30-year-old has already had on average 5 jobs. There is a perception and practice that has changed from the entry level management programs throughout the first ¾ of the 1900’s. So, what changed?

The short answer is recruiting thru career fairs became the solution when college populations grew dramatically in the three decades following the GI Bill and the significant increased access to college. In 1950 20% of graduating high school seniors went to college. College was primarily a finishing school for the affluent. Primarily with the increase of veterans’ access and other government funding programs today over 60% of those receiving their high school diploma enroll in college. This increase changed college recruiting from the old boys’ network to a generational shift, where both college graduates and employers have seen progressively lower returns hiring straight out of education. Academic preparation is still the strength of colleges as well as being the sensible location for recruiting. But should academic professionals really be responsible for teaching life skills or those without career experience teach financial literacy? For past generations, this mentorship came from parental stewardship. Today, in an era of increasingly dual earner or single parent households, career and life guidance has been largely vacated by parents overwhelmed with mixed roles and helicoptering guilt. Preparing students in the 21st century and onboarding them into careers has changed. Colleges have come to be the scapegoat due to their increased cost and a perception that students at that age should have the maturity to figure out their career path coincidentally with their matriculation.

Students are less prepared to decide a career at graduation for multiple reasons. Parental stewardship declines during college years when students today are initiated into independence. Social immaturity and behavior is increasingly stretching collegiate resources. Newly independent students in many cases are introduced to alcohol two years before significant engagement with career services. Nationally only 25% of graduating students have ever visited their career services offices or participated in events during their college tenure. Campus participation in activities and engagement has been trending downward. Students quickly tune out the dozens of weekly emails and campus communication from multiple student organizations, academic advisorship and University services. It’s overwhelming for 18-yearolds out on their own for the first time in their lives.


The increased number of college students and shear number of college campuses has led to a mass scavenger hunt for jobs called career fairs as employers try to scale college visits. Students unprepared for synthesizing career choices need guard rails and personalized mentorship. Employers determine college visits randomly from pre-technology and legacy practices. This is not the arranged college visits that were associated with the 1900’s corporate management programs. Instead it is a very random speed dating system that colleges charge for access. The process in an era of expanded intelligence and data needs technology, comfortable for younger generations and improving retention and ROI in recruiting for companies. Employers need an efficient model, matching students to a scalable search process.

Disruptive models engage students regardless of school, the tools to look at all employment opportunities while identifying behavior critical to employers. Achievements accomplished, leadership skills identified and on campus participation are attributes of accountability and citizenship that employers can monitor to screen candidates. Reward programs and certification programs can encourage and track the attributes companies seek to represent their culture. These are not random acts they need to identify, but the core of consistent behavior that separates the responsible maturing adult from the student meeting academic criteria but socially not progressing.

TrustNavigator is a not-for-profit focused on student progression and improving corporate ROI in the recruitment space. In a new era of technology, randomly chosen individual college candidate pools make little sense for employers looking for the best qualified candidates for employment. Author Thomas Friedman points out, we are in a world where the largest hotel chain owns no rooms and the largest taxi company owns no cars. Employers seek students to fit their culture and who possess the skills needed for long term retention and success. Students need to have access to technology and tools to help them find their passion, identify the careers to engage them and seek an onboarding experience to train them and that mutually (with employers) values long term goals and common mission. Yes, a not for profit can be a disruptor while providing a common good to all the participants. The paradigm change, like the taxi and hotel industries is for all the participants to have direct access to each other thru matchmaking technology. Maybe we could date this way as well.

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