New Data: Defining a New Way to Hire and Train for Today's Employers

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  1. Young Adults Crave Real Workforce Training as Part of their Education
  2. Societal Expectations to Attend College
  3. Apprenticeships Provide an Alternative Pathway
  4. Methodology

Today’s US workforce relies on the public and private college system to train workers for their lifelong careers.

While colleges and universities lead the world in terms of research and innovation, their status as the only pathway to a successful career, and oftentimes the gatekeeper to opportunity, has had some troubling consequences: millions are unable to reach their professional and financial potential because of student loan debt, inequities in the workforce, and a workforce that struggles to hire for the skills it needs.

Today, Multiverse released new data, in tandem with US National Apprenticeship Week(opens new window), to more closely examine the current dynamics surrounding how young adults are educated and trained, where there are shortcomings and where there are opportunities for new models, like apprenticeships. The report also presents a definition for professional apprenticeships and highlights how the model can benefit both individuals and modern employers.

Here’s what we learned...

Young Adults Crave Real Workforce Training as Part of their Education

We found that college attendees are often left wanting when it comes to preparing for the workforce and wish to have more workforce experience and opportunities for applied learning as part of their college education. 66% of degreed young adults believe that real workforce training is the most crucial element to preparing for a successful career. At the same time, this same group listed “having a clear idea of what a job is like,” “real workforce training” and “quality time with industry professionals” as the top three elements missing from a college education. And, nearly half of those with a degree (49%) say higher-ed disregards at least some of the key skills needed for today’s workforce.

These skills gaps, in part, could be contributing to broader business challenges. The workforce has gone through a revolutionary digital transformation in the past decade, and now companies are hiring for jobs that did not exist 10 years ago. Comparatively, college curriculums, the predominant way we expect workers to go through education and training, haven’t evolved at the same pace.

Societal Expectations to Attend College

The report upholds that there is a widespread belief that post-high school success is determined by a college degree. Young adults revealed they are often influenced to attend college by parents and other family members, friends, teachers, and counselors. Nearly 8 in 10 students currently enrolled in either two- or four-year programs admit that their parents influenced their decision to attend college.

Moreover, people believe that college is the only pathway towards the most desirable industries. Three quarters of young adults considered college their top option after high school, and 63% of those with degrees went to college because they wanted to improve their ability to get a high-paying job post-graduation. These feelings aren’t far from the reality; over 65% of jobs today require some college training or a degree.(opens new window)

At the same time, 76% of those who did not enroll in college cite financial reasons; either wanting to earn a salary right after college or not being able to afford the cost of a degree. And one-third of those without a degree are unhappy with opportunities to work in their preferred field, calling for more alternative routes to train for today’s jobs.

Apprenticeships Provide an Alternative Pathway

Professional apprenticeships can change this. A professional apprenticeship is a new, but common sense way to train for the 21st century workplace. It includes skill-focused training through applied learning and classroom (or virtual) instruction alongside a job.

Five key components of a professional apprenticeship

  1. Tuition-free: an apprentice pays nothing for their training
  2. Paid: an apprentice receives a competitive salary from their employer
  3. Applied-learning opportunities to teach a tech skill: an apprenticeship infuses a curriculum with on-the-job learning linked to relevant business initiatives
  4. Personalized coaching: an apprentice has a coach or mentor to receive real time feedback and adaptive support to meet their unique needs
  5. Community: apprentices can access social events, further learning modules, and network with a global community of peers to continue to develop skills, make connections for life, and reach their personal goals

To the individual, apprenticeships create a debt-free option to pursuing a great job and training that more closely mirrors today’s employers’ actual needs. To the employer, apprenticeships provide the opportunity to recruit a more representative workforce by making jobs typically reserved for those with a degree more accessible, and train for skills critical to advancing their bottomline.

Benefits to employers

  1. Improve workforce diversity by reducing unnecessary barriers to entry
  2. Retain entry-level workers longer
  3. Reduce hiring costs by building a consistent pipeline of qualified, junior talent
  4. See increases in productivity that can drive topline revenue
  5. Close critical skills gaps by training workers according to specific needs of an employer (eg tech stack)

Benefits to apprentices

  1. Debt-free and paid positions that empower apprentices to learn an in-demand tech skill
  2. A year or more of experience working for a high-growth company
  3. On-the-job training to apply skills in real time to business critical projects
  4. Built-in coaching and mentorship
  5. Learn technical and durable skills required to succeed in modern workplaces
  6. Access to a broader community of peers to network and collaborate

Key insights from this group include:

  1. 87% of those entering the workforce for the first time with Multiverse apprenticeships say they are making more now than prior to apprenticeship;
  2. 83% of respondents believe their apprenticeship will set them up to succeed in their career;
  3. And 83% of apprentices would say their career prospects are higher than those who have not done an apprenticeship

For centuries, apprenticeships have been used for training in highly-skilled roles from electricians to doctors to bridge makers. But there’s one place they’ve surprisingly been absent from - corporate America. If our best employers were to move to a widespread adoption of apprenticeships, building another career route to today’s most coveted jobs, there would be no shortage of surprising and welcomed benefits.

"I feel amazing that I pursued the apprenticeship route instead of the traditional college route. Financially, I was not able to afford college, so I had to face reality and seek out other alternatives. I never imagined I would be given the opportunity to work for an amazing company who works with a diverse team and appreciates my efforts and passion to learn more as they teach me." - Ana Karen Chino, Data Analyst at Intermountain Healthcare.


Multiverse commissioned Vanson Bourne, an independent market research specialist, to undertake research on learning choices and career opportunities with consumers in the US aged 18-26. 500 interviews took place online during August and September 2022 in compliance with GDPR guidelines. Rigorous quality checks were carried out to ensure that the insights are built on engaged survey responses and dependable data. These include real-time data checking and multi-factor validation across a range of metrics. In addition, a multi-level screening process ensured that only suitable candidates were given the opportunity to participate.

Multiverse also surveyed 300 UK Multiverse apprentices to establish a baseline understanding of the impact of the apprenticeship program on workforce preparedness, career progression and success and financial standing.

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