Forging Pathways to Purposeful Work: The Role of Higher Education

Copy Of Copy Of What Work Is Really For

Affiliation: Gallup & Bates College

This report conducted jointly by Bates College and the Gallup organization highlights the importance of meaning and purpose for today's college graduates, and identifies the role higher-education can play in helping this population find such work. The following is from the Gallup organization's description of the report: 

Representing the views of more than 2,000 college graduates, 600 hiring managers and 1,000 parents of students who are college bound, in college or who recently graduated from college, this study measures the extent to which college graduates seek and find purpose in their work.

The study identifies four key undergraduate experiences that align with graduates finding purpose in work:

  • Having an applied internship or job
  • Having someone who encourages students' goals and dreams
  • Being given realistic expectations for post-graduation employment prospects
  • Participating in a class/program that helps students think about pursuing meaning in work

The findings also show that employers endorse skills traditionally associated with a liberal arts education. Hiring managers value the following qualities when evaluating a job candidate's readiness for the workforce and feel colleges and universities should focus on developing these in their students:

  • Critical thinking
  • Effective communication
  • Collaboration and working effectively on a team
  • Developing students' curiosity and interest in work that is meaningful to them

Download the report to discover new approaches to equip students with the skills, experiences and self-awareness needed to effectively navigate the complex and competitive future of work and realize professional and personal fulfillment.

Keywords: Education , Meaning , Purpose