It appears that high school and college students are being well prepared for their future careers, at least in their own minds. Ask employers and they will paint a very different picture.
The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) asked groups of employers and college students a series of similar questions about career preparation. AACU has released the survey results and they show an unsettling outcome.
Consistent with past AACU surveys, this survey found that employers are concerned about new college graduates having a range of skills in areas such as communication and team work. Employers aren’t as concerned about choice of major, as many students would believe. This year, AACU did a companion survey of 613 college students at public and private two-year and four-year colleges. The employers’ survey included 400 respondents whose organizations have at least 25 employees and report that 25% or more of their new hires hold either an associate degree from a two-year college or a bachelor’s degree from a four-year college.
The prominent consistency in the report is that students rank themselves as prepared in areas where employers do not report the same findings. The one area that students and employers are the closest to being aligned, is in staying current with new technologies, where 37% of employers report students are well-prepared and 46% of students believe that they are. But in a number of key areas (oral communication, written communication, critical thinking, creativity), students are more than twice as likely as employers to think of themselves as well prepared.
When it comes to the types of skills and knowledge that employers feel are most important to workplace success, large majorities of employers do not feel that recent college graduates are adequately prepared or suitable. This is particularly the case for applying knowledge and skills in real-world settings, critical thinking skills, and written oral communication skills. Fewer than 3 in 10 employers believe that recent college graduates are well prepared. Yet even in the areas of ethical decision-making and working with others in a team setting, many employers do not give graduates high marks. -AACU
Employers were asked whether it was more important for new hires to have training in specific skills for a job, a “range of knowledge,” or both specific skills and a range of knowledge. “Both” was the clear winner at 60%, followed by range of knowledge with 25%, and specific skills at only 15%.
A survey by the Workforce Solutions Group at St. Louis Community College finds that more than 60% of employers affirm that applicants lack “communication and interpersonal skills,” a jump of about 10% in just two years. A wide margin of managers also report that today’s applicants cannot think critically and creatively, solve problems, or write well.
As much as academics go on about the lack of math and science skills, employers are more concerned with organizational and interpersonal proficiency. The National Association of Colleges and Employers surveyed more than 200 employers about their top 10 priorities in hew hires. Overwhelmingly, they want candidates who are team players, problem solvers and can plan, organize and prioritize their work. Technical and computer related know how placed much further down the list.
One program that does appear to make a positive difference is internships, according to a Harris Interactive survey of more than 2,000 college students and 1,000 hiring managers on behalf of textbook company Chegg. More than 80% of employers want new graduates they hire to have completed a formal internship, but only 8% of students say interning in a field related to their major is something they spend a lot of time doing.
Part of the problem, as the saying goes, is that “you don’t know what you don’t know.” Harris Interactive found a huge gap between student’s perceptions of their abilities and managers’ perceptions of those same skills. It is just harder to teach these skills, experts say. “It is hard to correct a lifetime of bad habits in a short period of time,” Roderick Nunn, Vice Chancellor for Economic Development and Workforce Solutions at St. Louis Community College tells the St. Louis Beacon.
Leading Next Generation exists to bridge the gap between parents, high school, colleges and the workplace. Our mission is to work with and train our youth while they are still young instead of waiting until poor habits and delayed preparedness affect their lives, success and futures. If we can reach the children and begin working on their real life skills and soft skills, students will have better success transitioning from college into independent living and finding success both personally and professionally.
Through the culmination of training, reading assignments, homework assignments, and application in real life activities, the students will gain insight in each module. In addition, it will be tactical hands on experiences through internships, community service, and real life situations in the field trips as well as the interaction with other students, mentors and corporate sponsors that will effectively bring the learning to life.
- Healthy acceptance of self is the basis for a strong future
- Opening & managing checking account
- Debt Management
- Improving Self-Image
- Improving Projected Image
- Psychology of non-verbal communication & eye contact
- Good Posture for concentration and thinking ability
- Verbal Interview Skills
- Non-verbal Interview Skills
- Workplace & business attire
- Occasion attire
- Students will participate in a formal dining experience at the Marietta Country Club. A coach will be present at each table representing the employer and the dinner filmed for viewing among students for feedback.
- Students will participate throughout the month of June in community service to give back to others and receive hours to include on their resumes and college applications.
- Combating speech anxiety
- Learn the art of public speaking
- Benefits of eating healthy, exercising and proper sleep.
- Cognitive function and drug/alcohol use.
- Developing the soft skills necessary for leadership
- Work ethic & ethical standards
- Critical thinking and problem solving
- Do’s and Don’ts
- Social Media’s impact on the brand of You
- How employers use Social Media
- Career Path Testing
- Independent Living
- Preparedness for reality in the business world
- Combating immaturity and impatience
- College or Job Application process