Joseph Schumpeter was an Austrian economist who argued that capitalism is always evolving, with new markets and new products constantly being developed. He referred to this process as "creative destruction" which (in layman's terms) describes the process that sees new innovations replacing existing ones that are rendered obsolete over time.
"Creative destruction refers to the incessant product and process innovation mechanism by which new production units replace outdated ones."
An obvious example would be Henry Ford’s assembly line. With the introduction of Ford’s Model T in 1908, horses and buggies were effectively driven out (excuse the pun) by a superior innovation. As time has passed, just as the Model T did the horse and buggy, numerous iterations of vehicles have driven out the Model T and many of its successors.
He concluded that over ten per cent of the jobs that exist at any point in time did not exist a year before or will likely not exist a year later. That is, over ten per cent of existing jobs are destroyed and about the same amount is created each and every year. Naturally, as industries are disrupted, the jobs and the skillsets required to flourish in those industries change.
I thought it was interesting to read last year that 87% of 130 employers surveyed by Accenture identified candidates who had “soft” skills such as communication, work ethic, teamwork and problem-solving as being their most sought after moving forward, skills which they went on to say, many graduates lack.
Coincidentally, this was shortly after our first cohort of graduates kicked off. Having originally run on a more ad-hoc basis, we decided to formalise our four-pillar programme (now 3-pillars) and bring in 50 graduates to work with our team of 25 mentors (now 60). With mentors, hailing from the likes of LinkedIn, Salesforce, Hubspot, DocuSign and Intercom to name but a few, we were confident that every single person that signed up would get a world-class experience.
Having completed college only a few short years ago myself, I was familiar with the pain of not knowing what I wanted to do next or how I would go about getting a job. If you'd given me the opportunity to work with a mentor who could not only guide me through interview best practices and job applications but would also give me access to a network that would allow me to find other amazing companies to work for - I would have bitten your hand off.
When you graduate, it is essentially the culmination of anywhere between 16-20 years of work you (and your parents) have put in. You've now officially got a Level 7/8/9 degree in whatever course you got accepted into 3, 4 or 5 years prior and you get a piece of paper that confirms it.
Irish graduates enter a job market home to some of the leading tech companies globally and yet still, many of those we speak to have no idea what career path they want to pursue. Even those who do have a clear path outlined often find themselves looking at job applications and seeing skill shortages and gaps with no idea how to start filling them.
If we take the Accenture study at its word, it appears a clear chasm exists between the skills that the education system (that we spent 16-20 years in) equips us with and the ones sought after by employers. At Gradguide, we're trying to help graduates cross that chasm.
We do this by creating a median where students can receive hands-on, practical guidance and advice from people who have relatively recently experienced the frustration of applying for jobs and the disappointment of missing out.
When graduates we work with don't get a job, they have someone to carry out a post-mortem with and reevaluate areas for improvement. This role has traditionally been filled by people's parents but the reality is, the job market was an entirely different beast when they were in their early 20s. (Remember Schumpeter's creative destruction?)
Speaking of which, it's rare you'll see a bigger shift than the one that took place in Ireland’s technology sector. This small island conveniently located between North America and Europe was made attractive by a comparatively low 12.5 corporate tax rate that spurred economic growth through the 90s and helped drastically reduce unemployment. The economic boom, during which the country’s growth was more than double that of most other EU countries, led to the infamous “Celtic Tiger."
However, by 2001, the new jobs created by the multinational corporations had begun to slow down. Still focused on high growth, Ireland’s politicians and banking sector turned to the mortgage and construction industries to maintain growth. By 2008 it had become clear that much of the growth in banking and construction was a bubble without capital to back it. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Not only is the job market vastly different today than it was to back in 2008. It's also quite different now than it was this time last year. An ever-changing market means new skills are required to land a job. Skills that we believe we can equip graduates with in our programme. If you, or someone you know, is a recent or soon-to-be graduate and would be interested in getting involved, you can apply to our next cohort here.