Students Worldwide Feel Underprepared for Competitive Job Market, Qualtrics Research Shows

Only 36% of young people across six OECD countries say their education makes them feel very or extremely prepared for the job market

Students whose programs offer apprenticeships were more likely to feel very or extremely prepared for the workforce by almost 20 percentage points (53% vs 34%)

PROVO, Utah & SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–New research from Qualtrics (Nasdaq:XM) shows that despite having higher levels of education than previous generations, only 36% of young people feel very or extremely prepared by their education for the job market. While three-quarters (74%) of young people said they feel prepared to perform well in a job, only 60% feel prepared to look for a job and only 58% feel prepared to compete against other candidates.

Qualtrics surveyed around 5,000 young people between the ages of 19 and 24, living across six different Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries: Australia, Canada, Japan, France, the United Kingdom and the United States, in the fall of 2022. The research was conducted in support of the OECD Forum Engagement Group on the Future of Work. Facing challenging economic conditions, one-third (33%) of working respondents report being underemployed, meaning they are working part-time when they prefer to work full-time or are in a temporary position when they prefer a permanent position. Underemployment is the highest in Canada (39%) and the lowest in Japan (20%).

As the job market fluctuates and the skills in demand for today’s workforce continue to change, education institutions play an important role in providing knowledge and training to help students search for a job, prepare to compete against other candidates and succeed in a position. However, current bachelor’s-level students and graduates felt less prepared to enter the workforce than their peers with less-than-bachelor’s level college education or those with a graduate education.

Participation in work-based training, such as apprenticeships, was the top driver of perceived job preparedness. But apprenticeships were the least-common programs respondents report being offered by their educational institutions, which included networking, hands-on learning, technical skills education and internships. Young people whose education programs offered an apprenticeship were almost 20 percentage points (53% vs 34%) more likely to feel very or extremely prepared for the workforce than those who did not.

Whereas most respondents (58%) said schools are responsible for giving advice on how and where to look for a job, the majority (58%) said providing resources for education and training opportunities was the government’s responsibility.

“Taking the time to listen to students’ experiences entering the workforce and understanding the specific challenges they face can help government and education institutions create the right interventions that will help ensure this generation of young people does not get left behind,” said Qualtrics Head of Industry Advisory Dr. Sydney Heimbrock. “If we understand the real drivers of job preparedness, we can put resources toward education, apprenticeship and training programs that have the most impact.”

“Education should help young people accomplish their personal and professional goals,” said OECD Director for Education and Skills Andreas Schleicher. “If that’s not happening, we need to take a careful look at the transition from school to work to ensure students are prepared to excel and meet life’s challenges, not just in the classroom, but in the world of employment as well.”

About Qualtrics

Qualtrics, the leader and creator of the experience management category, is a cloud-native software provider that helps organizations quickly identify and resolve points of friction across all digital and human touchpoints in their business – so they can retain their best customers and employees, protect their revenue, and drive profitability. More than 18,750 organizations around the world use Qualtrics’s advanced AI to listen, understand, and take action. Qualtrics uses its vast universe of experience data to form the largest database of human sentiment in the world. Qualtrics is co-headquartered in Provo, Utah and Seattle, and operates out of 28 offices globally. To learn more, please visit


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