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Education to Employment: Designing a System that Works

This report analyzes more than 100 education-to-employment initiatives from 25 countries and a survey of youth, education providers, and employers in nine diverse countries: Brazil, Germany, India, Mexico, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Author(s): 
Mona Mourshed
Diana Farrell
Dominic Barton
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation: 
McKinsey Center for Government
Published: 
2013
Resource Type: 
Product
Number of Pages: 
95
Product Type: 
Target Audience: 
Required Training: 

none

Abstract: 

In order to address youth unemployment, two fundamentals need to be in place: skill development and job creation. This report focuses on skill development, with special attention to the mechanisms that connect education to employment.

Around the world, governments and businesses face a conundrum: high levels of youth unemployment and a shortage of job seekers with critical skills. How can a country successfully move its young people from education to employment? What are the problems? Which interventions work? How can these be scaled up? These are the crucial questions.


In this report, we attempt to answer them. To do so, we developed two unique fact bases. The first is an analysis of more than 100 education-to-employment initiatives from 25 countries, selected on the basis of their innovation and effectiveness. The second is a survey of youth, education providers, and employers in nine countries that are diverse in geography and socioeconomic context: Brazil, Germany, India, Mexico, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Kingdom,
and the United States.


We started this research recognizing the twin crises of a shortage of jobs and a shortage of skills. In the course of it, though, we realized we needed to take into account another key shortage: the lack of hard data. This deficiency makes it difficult to even begin to understand which skills are required for employment, what practices are the most promising in training youth to become productive citizens and employees, and how to identify the programs that do this best. The state of the world’s knowledge about education-to-employment is akin to that regarding school-system reform a dozen years ago, prior to groundbreaking international assessments and related research. We hope this report helps fill this knowledge gap.

What the Experts Say: 

This report provides insights directly applicable to career pathways program design and offers educators a global perspective on youth struggling with postsecondary transitions and securing meaningful employment, and employers struggling to fill skill gaps. Research gathered on perspectives of youth, educators, and employers on how well education is preparing youth for entry-level employment, the perceived value of vocational education, and the tangible benefits of employer engagement should add to the knowledge base of adult educators seeking a better understanding of the connections between education and employment.

 

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