Why aren’t universities teaching real life digital skills?

I haven’t been to university since I did my marketing degree which was before the age of social media and the strong digital world we now live in. So I was totally dumbfounded to find out that universities aren’t teaching students digital skills.

I have had conversations in recent months with Communications, PR and Marketing students who all said they didn’t have many social media or digital subjects and only did the odd subject. This is crazy to me. How can a communications, PR or marketing grad, let alone all other students, not be taught skills that they will need in their very first job?

Universities are not giving students real life skills they need to make them qualified for any role. Instead they encourage them to do internships which is a great for on the job experience but digital and social media skills should be part of their core course as it will be deeply entwined in everything they do in business.

Without these skills, they leave illequipped, lacking basic training and don’t understand how to apply it to real life situations. Or they come out of uni thinking they know everything and deserve a big job with a big paycheck.

In a generation that is supposed to be so digitally savvy, I see and talk to many students or recent grads, who are lacking in understanding of the digital world. I had a conversation with my niece last week who is studying law, about some amazing opportunities she is getting to meet top lawyers and build contacts for her career. I suggested to her that she connect with them on LinkedIn and she said she didn’t have a LinkedIn account nor knew how to use it.  “What, are you joking?” was my response. She said she didn’t know how or why she would need it until I explained it to her then she could see how it would help her stay connected to these people.

It’s not an uncommon story, as most students I speak to don’t have a LinkedIn account. They aren’t getting taught about the various digital platform, where they fit in business world and how they can be used. Very basic skills that form the foundation of business, particularly in marketing & PR. Doing one assignment doesn’t cut it!

Basic digital and social media skills should be taught to every student, regardless of what they are studying, as it impacts every job and every role to some degree. I remember having to do subjects as part of my business marketing degree that I would never use (like business statistics) which were outdated and useless in a real marketing role (we have programs to do all that). But I couldn’t learn something that I would actually use in my next job.

Why are universities not teaching relevant subjects that will actually help their grads get a job? In the digital age how this is not happening is plain crazy to me. I’m glad I am not paying now paying thousands of dollars for a degree that isn’t going to equip me to deal with the job I am supposed to be qualified to do when I leave uni. All I can see is “WOW – things need to change!”