Monthly Archives: May 2016
The job market for new college grads has never been more complicated. This is how parents can actually help.
The career marketplace for new graduates has never been more competitive, unstructured, and difficult to navigate.
For every appealing entry-level professional position in a given industry, there are dozens, often hundreds, and sometimes thousands of candidates. Johnson & Johnson receives more than 180,000 applications each year for the approximately 720 positions the company hires directly from colleges and universities.
MetLife receives an average of 150,000 applications each year for their approximately 2,500 entry-level positions. And the competition is just as fierce at the leading financial services companies, consulting firms, and not-for-profits (like the American Red Cross), much less the world’s most competitive tech firms, such as Facebook and Google.
If your son or daughter recently graduated from college or is about to graduate and become a new entrant in the job market, he or she is almost certainly consumed by such questions as how to stand out and break through the sea of other applicants to land an interview; how to obtain the right introductions; how to know which questions to ask; and how to know which jobs to even pursue in the first place.
The nature of today’s career paths have changed, as have the tools used for job searching. Your son or daughter will want a good-paying job, of course, hopefully in an interesting field with the potential for career advancement.
But today’s graduates and the thousands of millennials I’ve talked to who are starting out in the working world today also want to work for an organization that aligns with their values and makes them proud to be there. They want a job that offers the opportunity to achieve, over time, the lifestyle they want to live— and ultimately to be able to live in the city or region they are attracted to and to afford the things a good paying job leads to, such as a house, a car, travel and entertainment, and the ability to raise a family.
But today’s employees also want to be respected. Your daughter wants a chance to show what she can do, to be challenged, and to have the opportunity to grow in her job or organization. And more than any previous generations, she wants to work on something meaningful, to make a difference. Along with this, she wants the flexibility and freedom to pursue her interests outside of work. She realizes that she is likely to work for many different employers during her career. But she welcomes the opportunity to join an established company that offers security and training programs that help her to grow her skills and advance her career.
As a Parent, What Can You Do?
The truth is, it’s difficult to advise your own kids about how to get a good job or tell them how careers really work. You can expect that your advice will be heavily discounted. For one thing, much has changed since you were a new grad or in your twenties. And your kids may not realize that you appreciate that.
Your son or daughter has probably already gotten a fair amount of advice on the steps to take in finding a job from a career-counseling office or friends, including the basics of setting up a LinkedIn profile, writing a résumé, and interviewing strategies. He or she may have been taught how to create a target list that organizes his or her desired employers into a spreadsheet, with contacts, follow-ups, and next steps.
These are just a few of the things The Career Playbook and good career counselors can teach. But your student or graduate is likely looking to you for something else. You won’t be helpful by—or appreciated for—attempting to organize his or her job search, nagging, or serving up unhelpful platitudes like “follow your passion.”
Instead, what you can do is help your graduate think through the necessary trade-offs that will need to be made and offer genuine encouragement to soldier forth despite the frequent rejections and setbacks that are par for the course. I urge you to resist the all-too-natural tendency to relate their process back to your own experience. Even though it is well-intentioned, it comes across as “Here’s how I did it, so that’s how you should do it, too.” Instead, let your daughter or son know that a career path will not and should not be expected to be a straight line, and that’s okay.
What You Need to Know to Help Your Grad with His or Her Career
In addition to your love and support, you can help by: 1) talking with your son or daughter about how careers work, 2) helping him or her understand the trade-offs involved in choosing one job or career over another, and 3) discussing the fundamental importance of relationships in a career, whatever the industry or sector.
At the same time, you can be an effective parent by keeping in mind that building a career is an essential part of growing as an adult and as an individual. Obviously, your grad will want to make decisions on his or her own.
But he or she will benefit from a playbook to understand the options as he or she goes down this uncharted path, from you acting as a caring parent by supporting the choices made and allowing the space to make occasional mistakes. The details and specifics of developing and managing his or her career will likely best be served by advisers and mentors, industry veterans, friends, books, and online resources. With this knowledge and The Career Playbook in hand, your grad should be prepared for the start of a long and fulfilling career.
This post has been adapted from Jim Citrin’s latest book, “The Parents Guide to the Career Playbook: What Every Parent of a Graduate or Graduating Student Needs to Know,” available now.
Contact John Assunto for all of your Education Recruiting needs! Johna@worldbridgepartners.com or 860-387-0503
I’ve written about this subject what feels like hundreds of times. But this time is going to be the last.
That last sentence may not be true.
Working as an agency recruiter is almost always categorised as a sales role.
The other skills needed to do the job, like organisation, research (thanks Kamran), content marketing and people management rarely get a mention.
Look at most agency recruiter job ads and you’ll see the same hackneyed clichés trotted-out about needing passion and determination – all softeners for the fact that the job really involves making 50 cold-calls a day.
Which brings me to my first point.
Cold-calling isn’t selling, it’s prospecting.
Selling is what happens when you’re sat in front of someone with buying authority and you actually have something definable to sell. You know, in exchange for some money.
So once again, recruitment agencies that only work on contingency don’t have anything to sell, apart from vague promises and maybes.
“We’re experts in your field.”
“We have access to the best candidates.”
“We’re confident we will fill this job.”
Yeah. And you’ve got talent pools as well, right?
The vagueness of these statements are mitigated by the agency recruiter’s ultimate close:
“You only have to pay us if you hire one of our candidates!”
You can’t sell something that may not happen or might not get delivered. That’s not sales, so you’re going to have to find another name for that. Ask Jordan Belfort.
The other day I saw a R2R advert with this as the opening line:
“Delivery Consultant wanted – Do you love recruitment but don’t like making 100 cold calls to clients a day?”
Putting aside the utter inanity of the “100 cold calls to clients a day” line for a moment, what this sentence is really saying is that the recruitment agency world has got its collective head stuck up its arse.
It must be dark up there.
So dark that many agency recruiters are labouring under the delusion that selling is what they do with hiring companies and that the candidate part of the job (aka ‘delivery’) doesn’t involve making prospecting calls, or selling.
The reality is of course that the Delivery Consultant role is probably more about sales than what the ubiquitous New Business Developer does. In particular, the New Business Developer who only brings in contingency work.
Unlike the Business Developer, the Delivery Consultant actually has something to sell.
A job is important. It’s real, it’s tangible and it needs to be sold in much the same way any other product might be sold. In fact, a job can even be life changing.
The only difference being that selling a job to a prospective candidate doesn’t involve the candidate spending any money. Or shouldn’t, unless you’ve done the Jordan Belfort seminar on selling.
So, if you’re one of those recruiters who think they want to get away from sales by either being a Delivery Consultant or by going inhouse, it could be argued that those are the places where the real selling is happening. Especially if it’s a company no one has heard of.
My advice, if you don’t like selling, is to keep cold-calling companies looking for job vacancies you probably won’t fill.
This wake-up call has been delivered black, with no sugar.
BTW… MRL are looking for Delivery Consultants – although we call them Account Managers. That’s recruiters who sell jobs to prospective candidates and manage existing clients.
It’s a coincidence, I swear.
Contact John Assunto for all of your Education Recruiting needs! Johna@worldbridgepartners.com or 860-387-0503
The question I was asked this morning is “What drives you?” Professionally, I continue to be driven by student engagement. When I see a group of students, solving problems, connecting with each other, and succeeding academically, I know something is going right. (and forgive the selfies – it is a Friday!)
This morning started with the Student Government Association Summit on campus at Berkeley College – Westchester. Great group learning how to impact effective change. #SGASummit16 Kudos to Sherrille Shabazz, Kevin Frey, Suzaena Stewart and everyone making a great day happen for these student leaders.
This afternoon I joined the freshman Honors Symposium and discussion on listened to innovative ideas on global health problems and solutions.
Contact John Assunto for all of your Education Recruiting needs! Johna@worldbridgepartners.com or 860-387-0503
It turns out I’m not a millennial.
Of course, I’ve long claimed to be one. I have all the makings of a self-obsessed, tech-savvy, don’t-drive Young Person. But born in 1996, I am actually part of a completely new generation, one I like to call the “unknowns.”
Otherwise called Generation Z – or iGeneration (does the “i” stand for “interactive” or “international”?), post-millennials, or plurals, some think we are those born from 1995 through the 2010s and others from the 2000s to the early 2020s. Yes, there are more of us coming. Perhaps it’s fitting that we can’t agree on any of this. In a culture obsessed with Baby Boomers and their millennial children, we might end up being one of those smothered generations, like our Generation X parents.
Millennials are the world-wide phenomenon that dominates social media feeds, branding initiatives, and the corporate world. We’re all obsessed with what millennials are, were, and could be. Meanwhile, unknowns made up 25% of the U.S. population in 2015, a larger cohort than boomers or millennials.
Yet, like me, most of us don’t realize “we” exist. According to a Generation Z Goes to College Study that analyzed 1100 Generation Z college students, we view our peers as like millennials (competitive, spontaneous, adventuresome, and curious), and we tend to think we’re unusually different (loyal, compassionate, determined, and thoughtful).
Unlike millennials – and like the Silent Generation (boomers’ parents) – we’re too young to remember a world without problems. We didn’t get to see the optimism, economic boom, and American prowess of the 1990s. All we know is growing up in a world plagued by economic crashes, failed wars, and an obsession with terrorism. According to the marketing firm Frank N. Magid, we are the least likely to believe that there is such a thing as the American dream.
46% of us, according to a 2013 survey by discount broker Ameritrade, are concerned about student debt and 36% of us are worried about affording college at all. Less of us are even considering college than in the millennial generation and only about half of us think we’re going to have a better standard of living than our parents. Depression is on the rise.
Generation Z Stats (This is mostly accurate. Do NOT ever use “YOLO” and expect us to think that’s cool.)
On the bright side, however, unknowns are shaping up to be a diverse, tolerant, and global generation. We’re the last American generation to be majority Caucasian. We grew up in untraditional households and multiracial families. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 41% of U.S. babies are now born to unmarried mothers. We’re largely coming of age after same-sex marriage has been legally recognized. A Ford Motor Company survey said that 58% of adults worldwide think that kids today have more in common with their global peers than with adults in their own country.
We’re also far more realistic and measured with millennials when it comes to technology. We grew up with social media and YouTube channels. Rather than viewing technology as a cool new idea, it’s a way of life. We use our phones all the time and we’re careful with privacy settings. We want to participate with friends – and only friends – and we tolerate, not enjoy, Facebook. According to Millennial Branding, a research and management company, 53% of us prefer in-person communications over instant messaging or email. We may even overcompensate on interpersonal skills and face-to-face contact, because we see millennials struggling with it.
The downside of technology is that we have short attention spans and 11% of us have been diagnosed with ADHD, according to Sparks & Honey, a branding and research company. We want big picture advertising in a few seconds and short bursts of different types of work, facts bound to change the workplace of the future.
Unknowns are also more independent, entrepreneurial, and pragmatic about money than millennials. Sparks & Honey reported that 72% of high-school students today want to start a business someday and over 75% are concerned about world hunger and our impact on the planet. We’re more conservative when it comes to safe jobs, committed marriages, and working with a team. We want fulfillment and excitement in our jobs, we want to move out from our parents, and we want close friends. We’re risk-averse, we wear seatbelts, and we drink less alcohol. We don’t believe that everyone can be Steve Jobs. This might be because our Generation X parents, unlike boomers, tended to helicopter us, tell us we really weren’t that special in a world of seven billion people, and encourage us to stay healthy and work hard. They are parents and coaches, not friends.
Of course, all of this might change. We’re a new generation and most of us aren’t 18 yet. Some of us are still wearing diapers. But whether we end up being another silent generation or Millennials 2.0, soon we will be a little less unknown.
(Originally published on the Boston Globe, here:https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2016/04/25/who-are-generation/Zd6TMLiRYKgH0xvbLNFh8O/story.html).
Isvari is a LinkedIn Campus Editor, writes business columns for The Boston Globe and political columns for The Washington Times, composes pop music, and is a Global Law Scholar at Georgetown Law. Her novel, The Eyes of Mikra, is about a spy with amnesia who’s figured everything out about the war she’s fighting, but nothing about who she really is. Available, like everything else, on Amazon.
Last summer, I served as a congressional intern in the Nation’s Capitol. While I had a great experience working and living in the city, there were a few ways I wish I would have seized more opportunities. In summer 2016, I plan to capitalize on every chance I get to make this an unforgettable summer. Carpe Diem!.
Regret-Pinching Pennies: Experiencing a new city is not the time to be cheap. During my last internship, I did not try some new restaurants or go out to do different tours of the town because I did not want to spend too much money. I was not even saving for anything in particular. All the money I “saved” just reminded me of all the good times I missed and all of my internship money was eventually spent on something for school in the fall.
Seize-Splurge a Little: While it’s important to save, I also want to use my money to do adventurous things with other interns, like exploring a new city. College students are pretty carefree. At the end of the day, if I’m not happy and fulfilled, it doesn’t matter how much money I have in the bank. This summer, I vow to not let money get in the way of my happiness. I will be sure to use some of my money to have some fun in the sun!
Regret-Being a Caterpillar: When I first moved to DC for the summer, I found it hard to open up with the other interns, even though everyone was friendly! After giving introductions prior to the internship via a Facebook group, I remember feeling somewhat intimidated by everything that everyone had accomplished and how much older everyone was than me. These feelings of “am I good enough” and “can I be on their level” consumed me. I didn’t start really hanging out and sharing things about myself with the other interns until about the last two weeks of my program, when it was too late. In those 2 weeks, I did went out to brunch, explored U Street, and attended church with the interns.
How much more fulfilling would my summer have been if I had taken this approach at the beginning instead of the end of summer?
Now, when interns refer to different experiences and adventures in our Groupme, most of the time, I was not there. Some of my cohort has studied abroad, won awards, spoke in front of various audiences, started scholarship funds, and won Student Government Association elections. Seeing how amazing everyone is doing and talking to people on an individual basis, I really regret not getting to know the other interns better. Even though we are not all together anymore, everyone is so supportive of each other via messages, calls, texts, and social media shout outs! I am usually very open and outgoing, so for me to not show that side of myself was unusual.
Seize-Becoming a Social Butterfly: This summer, I vow to let everyone see the true Kristen: outgoing, caring, silly, and smart! I will not wait because then it may be too late. Building relationships over the summer can lead to lifelong friendships. You never want to close yourself off to the possibility of making new friends. The picture below is from the end of the summer cookout we had!
Regret-Being a Wallfower: If I am being honest, I did not go bike riding in DC because I was afraid I would fall or get hit. Though I did some new things, I did not seize every day. After working 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, the only activity I wanted to do after work was relax and sleep. I did enjoy the receptions I attended, such as the Rock and Roll reception where I took a selfie with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and my tour of the Library of Congress, but I did not do enough! Fellow interns visited the White House and other historic buildings, visited the Zoo, partied at clubs, ate Sunday brunch, and so much more while I was in the bed. Sounds crazy right?
Seize-Smell the Roses: Looking back on my internship, I see that it was crazy that I did not go more places. I vow to be more sane this summer, but still try some wild things! Skydiving? I’m there. Concerts? What time? Dance lessons? Let’s groove. This summer will be all about new adventures. I challenge you to try new things as well.
Reflecting on my internship last summer, I do have regrets. I want first-time interns to use my regrets as a learning experience, so they will have a fulfilling summer. I want to be the exact opposite this summer. I vow to be more carefree. I want to be bold, open, build social value, focus on impact, and move fast. After all, this summer I’ll be in California as an Instagram Product Marketing Intern at Facebook!
Do you have any regrets from a summer job or internship? What will you do to make this summer the best? Any advice? Feel free to comment below!
In the interest of saving time, I’ve already answered the question in my headline. You are the secret to finding talent. More specifically, your ability to look past your own biases directly equates to your ability to find and cultivate great talent.
To demonstrate, I’m now going to point out one of my own biases so obvious you probably don’t even notice it: I prefer the written word. (That’s why I’ve managed to write eight gazillion LinkedIn articles.) But – recognizing my bias – I’m now giving you the opportunity to get the rest of this story primarily in pictures:
I’m back, primarily for those of you who also have a bias for the written word.
Here’s the deal… your biases are your own worst enemy. They prevent you from spotting talent because talent often looks like something far outside of your comfort zone:
- People who dress differently than you
- “Crazy” people
- “Boring” people
- People who can’t speak your language
- People who can’t sit still, or people who want to sit still for 12 hours at a time
- People who are impulsive, anal, contradictory, methodical, unorthodox, anti-social, or too social
Don’t do what I just did!
Don’t label people. Don’t reject them because your biases tell you they are inappropriate.
Let’s face facts. Your comfort zone is probably far smaller than the space in which some of Earth’s most talented people operate.
By the way, I hope this doesn’t sound like I am being overly critical of YOU.
Everyone – myself included – has biases. Sometimes I am shocked by the things the voice in my head says. 99% of the time, my conscious thought overrules such thoughts, but deep inside, they are there. That overly-judgmental voice is the owner of such biases, and unless you and I constantly fight it, that voice creates blind spots that prevent us from bringing out talent in others.
Fight your biases, every… single… day.
Bruce Kasanoff helps professionals like you find the right words to advance your career. Learn more at Kasanoff.com.
Do we need universities anymore? What if they ran out of customers?
Google announced it is hiring employees without college degrees, and Ernst & Young made a similar decision in the U.K. last fall. Both organizations see less value in a traditional college degree.
Are two of the most admired companies in the world wrong — or ahead of their time?
The value of universities could be hitting a wall as fast as the value of libraries, newspapers and brick-and-mortar retail stores. Our need for learning and filling our brains with exactly the right information at just the right time is changing faster than American universities are.
Think about it: Which is more indispensable to you in your job — your university education or the university you have in your pocket, your smartphone?
American universities need to change. The current $1.2 trillion in student loan debt is crushing graduates. Total student loan balances have tripled since 2003 and are the second-largest category of borrowing after mortgages. If major employers like Google and Ernst & Young see less need for a college degree, and if other big companies follow suit, then students are paying an exorbitant price for a product of decreasing value.
With our recent joint launch of a daily poll on higher education, Gallup and USA Funds are helping university leaders lead the change. Each day, 350 days a year, Gallup will conduct nationally representative interviews with approximately 500 U.S. adults about their higher education interests, experiences and outcomes. We will provide the first ever “voice of the customer” on the subject of higher education.
As William D. Hansen, USA Funds president and CEO, puts it, “This ongoing survey will allow us to track the progress toward and effectively identify strategies that promote what we call ‘completion with a purpose’ — helping more students complete college prepared to launch rewarding careers.”
Gallup’s founder, the late Dr. George Gallup, once famously said, “If democracy is supposed to be based on the will of the people, someone should find out what that will is.” His point was that when leaders are wrong about what the people want, and then use that wrong information to make decisions, things get worse. It’s a point that applies to students and their education as much as it applies to any other part of our society.
The purpose of the new Gallup-USA Funds partnership is to report the will of the people on the subject of higher education. Now leaders of American education can be right instead of wrong about policies, strategies, premises and practices as colleges and universities go through massive transformational change.
Change is coming one way or another. Universities have to decide whether they want to lead the change or become the next victims of disruption.
Jim Clifton is Chairman and CEO of Gallup. He is author of The Coming Jobs War(Gallup Press, 2011).
As you enjoy the month of May and begin to prepare for the next cycle, I’d like to pose a question for you to consider:
How do you measure and evaluate prospective student experiences?
It is no secret that we are in the midst of an enrollment management revolution. Sadly, gone are the days that colleges and universities can fill seats by simply letting the students come to them, or so I’ve read. Not to mention, the stakes are higher than ever – gaining a student is no longer seen as a “4-year revenue stream” but rather the beginning of a lifelong relationship with infinite potential.
To compound this even further, new technology is rapidly expanding the ways in which a prospective student now interacts with an institution, and ultimately decides where to attend. Whether it be through online means – website, live chat, virtual tour, social media, submitting an inquiry – or offline – campus visits, open houses, phone calls, mailers – every single interaction affects this decision process.
So I’ll ask again, how do you measure and evaluate prospective student experiences?
If you use survey data, then good! That is certainly a strong place to start. Surveying your prospective students will give you a real sense of how they are feeling throughout the process. What did you like/dislike? Are you more/less likely to apply because of this experience? You get the idea. Take the aggregate of all this data and that will leave you with a pile of subjective opinions, that definitely matter, but often reflect the most extreme positions. It is common knowledge that most people who take time to fill out a survey are either your very satisfied customers or upset about something. But ironically, the middle segment is what decision-makers are really after.
Which leads me to CampusFeedback. We believe that “what gets measured gets done” and our team has been measuring customer service experiences for 16 years now, for hundreds of clients across many different industries. Originally starting under the nameGoodwin Hospitality and partnering with restaurant clients around the world has allowed us to develop a strong infrastructure and platform of services that translates seamlessly into higher education.
CampusFeedback’s specialty is our admissions mystery shopper program, which benefits admissions leaders, such as yourself, in the following ways:
- Objective, unbiased, ongoing feedback
- Fully customizable templates (ask any question you want!)
- Adjustable volume/frequency to meet any budget
- Introduce new prospective students to your school (the shoppers)
- Customizable reporting and analytics on the back end
Give us a call and we would be happy to explain further, as well as walk you through some of the flexible options we have available. We look forward to partnering with you to proactively attack the enrollment challenges of the present and future.
May 16, 2016
Tuition discount rates keep climbing to previously unseen levels at private colleges and universities, leaving institutions caught between the need to enroll highly price-conscious students and the squeeze discounting places on the amount of money they end up netting.
The average institutional tuition discount rate rose to an estimated 48.6 percent for first-time, full-time freshmen in 2015-16, according to a report released today by the National Association of College and University Business Officers. The rate, which represents the portion of total tuition and fee revenue channeled back to students as grant-based financial aid, was up from 47.1 percent the previous year. Discount rates also increased when all undergraduates were measured, rising to 42.5 percent from 41.3 percent.
That means private institutions piped nearly half of every dollar charged in tuition and fees back into scholarships and grants for freshmen. Counting all students, they routed more than 42 cents of every dollar into financial aid. Both numbers are all-time highs. The number also means private colleges and universities relied on steep discounts to attract students or make themselves affordable.
Discount rates have been marching steadily higher since 2008-9, when large swaths of family wealth evaporated during the financial crisis and Great Recession. Discount rates averaged 39.9 percent for freshmen and 36.9 percent for all undergraduates in 2008-9.
The popular theory is that the recession caused a break in the way families view finances and tuition. Students and parents with less cash on hand became more price conscious. They also became increasingly willing to shop between pricier private institutions and lower-cost options like state universities and other alternative programs.
Still, discount rates were ticking up even before the recession — they stood at 38.1 percent for freshmen and 34.3 percent for all undergraduates in 2004-5.
Regardless of the reason behind the rising discount rates, they’ve contributed to a landscape where many colleges and universities feel the squeeze. Net tuition revenue growth estimates averaged 1.2 percent for freshmen in 2015-16, flattening slightly from 2.1 percent a year earlier. Net tuition revenue growth across all undergraduates averaged an estimated 1.8 percent in 2015-16, about even with 1.7 percent the year before. Net revenue increases weren’t enough to keep pace with the rate of inflation as measured by the Higher Education Price Index, which was 2.1 percent in 2015.
At the same time, many private institutions have experienced declining enrollments. In the new report, 37.5 percent of institutions reported enrollments declined in both their freshman classes and across their entire undergraduate bodies from 2014 to 2015. More than half of institutions, 51.2 percent, reported a decrease in total undergraduate enrollment, and 53.5 percent said freshman enrollment dropped.
The trends have universities asking questions about their strategy going forward, said Ken Redd, director of research and analysis at NACUBO.
“There’s a real emphasis among our chief business officers and other campus leaders to preserving, to the extent they can, affordability,” Redd said. “There’s a big price that campuses are paying for that. With the net tuition revenue essentially, in real terms, being flat for the last couple of years, it really does mean that institutions have to start thinking about other ways of helping to preserve the emphasis on affordability.”
Open questions include whether current levels of discounting are sustainable, what strategies should be used to take on enrollment declines and, notably, whether private colleges will have to turn to cutting listed tuition and fee prices.
NACUBO asked chief business officers to share strategies they used in the 2015 fiscal year to raise net tuition revenue in 2015. Student recruitment and retention made up the top strategy, used by 27.7 percent of institutions. Financial aid strategies followed at 26.7 percent, tailed closely by tuition pricing strategies at 24.2 percent. Changes or additions to academic programs were only cited by 4.7 percent.
“For many schools, just raising the discount rate is not by itself a way of solving enrollment or revenue issues,” Redd said. “A number of schools seem to be trying different strategies. It’s too early in the process to know how those strategies will work.”
Meanwhile, institutions clearly felt they were losing enrollment because of prices. Among survey respondents that experienced freshman enrollment declines between 2012-13 and 2015-16, a whopping 62 percent said they believed students’ price sensitivity was a factor. Price sensitivity was the top reason cited, followed by increased competition at 60 percent, changing demographics at 51 percent, a decrease in the number of 18- to 24-year-olds in a region at 40 percent and a decrease in yield rates at 39 percent. Farther down, 19 percent of institutions said they lost freshmen because they became more selective.
Colleges and universities are going to have to become more sophisticated in their pricing, said Rick Beyer, a former president of Wheeling Jesuit University and a consultant who is the managing principal of AGB Institutional Strategies.
“We’re in a deflationary market for tuition pricing, and we’ve hit a time in the marketplace where the consumers are now in charge of what they’re going to accept,” Beyer said. “As a result, colleges are going to have to completely redesign their business model to be prosperous in the future.”
Efforts to step away from discounting aren’t just an abstract number on a page — some universities are openly discussing their strategies. Transylvania University is a private liberal arts college in Lexington, Ky., with an enrollment of 1,050. Its discount rate for the fall of 2015 was roughly 54 percent for incoming students.
But the university this year started focusing on fighting the trend of ever-escalating discounts, with the hope of avoiding negative long-term financial impacts to programs.
“We’re pretty sure that it’s not a sustainable path for us to keep going up and up and up,” said Rhyan Conyers, vice president for enrollment and dean of admissions. “Every dollar that we put into financial aid is a dollar that we can’t put into supporting our students.”
Transylvania’s efforts demonstrate the difficulty of holding the line on discount rates, however. Families are intent on affordability, Conyers said. The university has to be sensitive to students’ financial needs.
It’s a balancing act. This year, Transylvania started with an emphasis on limiting stackable scholarships — institutional grant money awarded on top of outside aid.
“Knowing that the market can sometimes react pretty negatively to large changes in pricing or discounting, we have what we consider to be a steady approach,” Conyers said. “It’s not as though we’re saying we’re not going to give any merit scholarships anymore.”
Some may discuss cutting the sticker price, but it hasn’t been touted as a serious option at Transylvania. It could be difficult for colleges and universities to slash sticker prices without hurting their perceived value among students.
“I think it’s a reflection of the market,” Conyers said. “If a Toyota is $30,000 and tomorrow it’s $25,000, you might think, ‘Oh my gosh, what are they not doing?’”
Other trends in the NACUBO report include small colleges and universities feeling the discount-rate pinch the hardest. Small institutions — those with total enrollment below 4,000 — estimated net tuition revenue per freshman increased by just 0.6 percent in 2015-16 after no growth the year before. Research universities posted gains of 3.2 percent in 2015-16 after 8.4 percent the previous year, while comprehensive institutions recorded gains of 1.8 percent and 0.9 percent over the same time frame.
Colleges and universities with large endowments drew on those resources for student aid. Among colleges and universities with more than $1 billion in endowed funds, survey respondents said nearly a third of their total undergraduate institutional grant aid came from endowment funds in 2014-15. Institutions with endowments under $25 million said endowments provided only about 7 percent of institutional grant funds.
A vast majority of first-time freshmen, 88.2 percent, received institutional grants in 2015-16. The amount was roughly even with the previous two years. The average grant for freshmen as a percentage of tuition and fees was up, rising to 55.5 percent from 53.9 percent.
Pulling back the lens to look at all undergraduates, 77.6 percent received institutional grants in 2015-16, up from 77.2 percent and 76.4 percent in the previous two years. The average institutional grant also accounted for a higher percentage of tuition and fees, 49.9 percent, up from 48.6 percent and 47.6 percent.
More than three-quarters, 78 percent, of total institutional aid dollars awarded in 2014-2015 went toward students who had demonstrated financial need.
The NACUBO report compiled responses from 401 colleges and universities — 305 small institutions, 57 comprehensive and doctoral institutions, and 39 research institutions.
Originally posted on Inside Higher Ed
After a particularly frustrating day at work, Ted let it all hang out on Facebook. He wrote a limerick rhyming the name of his company with a part of the human anatomy. A number of his colleagues—and even a couple customers—turned him into HR. A short time later, he was seen cleaning out his desk.
Sarah was recently hired as a sales lead in a retail store. After both her managers left, she wrote to the regional manager to let her know she was “understaffed and overworked.” The next day, Sarah was reprimanded for her “hostile” tone and “gross insubordination.” She was also told the possibility of any support was “out the window.”
Unfortunately, these examples are commonplace in the workforce. Our latest study revealed that nearly every employee has either seen or suffered from a catastrophic comment like that of Ted and Sarah. Specifically, 83 percent have witnessed their colleagues say something that had catastrophic results on their careers, reputations and businesses. And 69 percent admit to personally committing a catastrophic comment.
The Chemistry of Catastrophe
The reason a single comment can obliterate trust is that human beings are hard wired for defense. Our brains give disproportionate attention to threats – and rightly so. On the Savannah in millennia past, the cool and collected person who ignored the rustling in the bush ended up as lunch, whereas the person who leapt at every suspicious sound may have looked foolish a few times, but survived the occasions when it was a lynx that caused the sound. Mistaking a friend for a foe may ruffle someone’s loin cloth now and then, but mistaking a foe for a friend was fatal.
Our genetic inheritance from those successful ancestors causes us to enter every social situation with two questions in mind: 1) does someone here intend me harm? (what are others’ motivations?); and 2) could they carry it out? (what are their abilities?). We do this automatically, often without conscious awareness. We look at size, resources, tone of voice, body language and other small gestures that might signal pernicious motivation and ability. And here’s where catastrophic comments come into play: the data we trust the most is that which others least intended us to have.
We all know that people are often posing – manipulating the impression they give us. So when an unguarded moment happens, we tend to over-value it in assessing someone’s true disposition toward us. If someone accidently hits “reply all” – we assume that what we receive is truer than the thousand emails we got from them in the previous years. When they make a statement in the emotion of the moment – we venture that it was a moment of rare transparency—not an ephemeral upset.
Understanding what went wrong, we now understand how to set things right. If the problem is that others no longer trust us because they believe they now have incontrovertible evidence of our true character – your job is to generate doubt. You must generate persuasive evidence of your real intentions.
Putting your foot in your mouth is easy to do; recovering from verbal mistakes actually takes skill—a fact verified by our data. We found that only one in five are extremely confident in their ability to fix mistakes.
It’s in organizations’ interests as well to foster a norm of appropriate forgiveness. While some offenses require immediate termination in order to protect corporate character, many are not malignant but are part of being human. While some of us pull a Ted and intentionally seal our own fate with vulgar, disrespectful, or intolerable comments, most of us find ourselves in Sarah’s shoes. We mean well, but our presentation was sloppy. Or, maybe we even speak up about issues we see as important to the business only to be punished for our honesty. Unfortunately, in these more innocent cases, employees are still being harshly punished.
The research shows almost half of workplaces have a “one strike and you’re out” policy or don’t even allow for employee apologies or reparations. These kinds of corporate cultures are hotbeds for disengaged and disgruntled employees and shut down the free-flow of ideas and dialogue that lead to success.
So, instead of punishing employees’ candor, leaders need to build the kind of culture where anyone can safely speak up to anyone else, regardless of power or position. And in those times when an employee may step out of line, there should be a plan that allows him or her to recover and get back on track.
Just consider the case of Mary, a well-respected leader who had a wealth of institutional knowledge and relationships with important clients. Recently, she thought she was in a “safe” meeting where open discussion was encouraged and yet, following the meeting, she found herself in hot water for some of the comments she made. Realizing her mistake, she quickly apologized to her boss for speaking out of line given her position in the company. While this went on her record, her quick apology saved her job and the company benefited from keeping such a valuable resource.
The Bandage Must Exceed the Wound
Catastrophic comments may leave you red-faced, but they don’t have to lead to a pink slip. If you are willing to step up to the size of the problem you’ve created, there is a reasonable chance of restoring trust. Once again — your task is to generate compelling evidence that others should doubt their newfound doubts about you. The principle issacrifice. If in the process of making amends people see you sacrificing things they know are precious to you, you may renew their faith in your sincerity. Specifically, look for ways to sacrifice ego, time, money – and other precious priorities.
Here are five tips that address different kinds of wrongs though persuasive sacrifice:
- If you say something that is just wrong, rude or completely inappropriate—sacrifice your ego. Only a clear, unvarnished apology will suffice. And the sooner it is offered the more ego sacrifice others perceive. The longer it takes the more grudging, calculated and measured it appears. When you blow your top and say something you regret, don’t wait to apologize. The sooner you say you’re sorry the more likely it is you’ll interrupt the hurt before it hardens into a fixed judgment of you. Time is of the essence.
- When the offense is due to misunderstanding and not intent, an apology is still appropriate – but more nuanced. You must: 1) demonstrate deep empathy with the unintentional hurt. Sacrifice whatever time and ego is needed through listening so you can deeply understand – and validate—the hurt; 2) sacrifice ego by taking ownership for your role in creating the hurt; and only when #1 and #2 are addressed to the satisfaction of the offended parties, then 3) clarify your true intended meaning. If you insincerely apologize for bad intent when there was none, you risk undermining trust as you’re lying in order to fix the truth.
- When you have a lapse in judgement and say something someone in your position shouldn’t have said—even if you personally agree with what you said–your apology must right the real wrong—your misbehavior as a leader. It’s not you that’s apologizing, it’s your position.
- If what you said in the past has already hardened into a fixed judgment, there is still hope. But it will take time. Your apology should be coupled with a “forgiveness contract.” Ask the other party to specify behavior they want to see from you as evidence of your sincerity. This show of vulnerability can be a powerful trust builder. If you find their request reasonable, then get to work on “behaving your way” out of the mistrust. Be patient. Sacrifice your need for closure in order to demonstrate your enduring sense of responsibility for the harm you’ve caused. Check in periodically to request feedback and make course corrections accordingly.
- When you make an electronic mistake (email, text, etc.), don’t apologize electronically. Whenever possible, it’s best to undo the damage face-to-face. Sacrificing the time to make personal contacts shows you mean it.
When you learn how to apologize with honesty and respect, you can take control of many catastrophic situations and right the wrong. These skills put the power back in your hands to exemplify the kind of person you really are—underneath the comments. Don’t let a momentary slip of the tongue define you as anything other than someone who is honest, kind, and competent.
Joseph Grenny is a four-time New York Times bestselling author, keynote speaker, and social scientist for business performance. His passion and expertise is human behavior and its impact on business performance and relationships. His work has been translated into 28 languages and has generated results for 300 of the Fortune 500. Joseph has been a contributing columnist for BusinessWeek, Forbes, and Harvard Business Review. He has appeared on The Today Show, CNN, Bloomberg, and Fox Business News, and been cited in hundreds of national news publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and USA Today. Joseph is the co-founder of VitalSmarts, an organization committed to teaching others how to effectively change human behavior.