Human Resources News & Insights

New grads don’t have skills needed for today’s work world, report says

News flash: Many employers don’t feel recent college graduates are properly prepared to be high-level performers in today’s workplace.  

We know, that conclusion is hardly surprising. Unless you’re talking about entry-level positions, no hiring manager with half a brain thinks a recently-hatched graduate is going to jump in and turn a faltering company around.

But a recent study from PayScale and Future Workplace digs a little deeper into what specific skills recent grads are lacking.

The 2016 Workforce-Skills Preparedness Report details the disconnect between managers and recent graduates regarding their preparedness for employment after entering the workforce, and which skills managers are most likely to consider absent or deficient.

And there are some eye-opening stats here. Rather than specific software programs or other tech skills, the report indicates that 44% of managers feel writing proficiency is the hard skill lacking the most among recent college graduates; public speaking follows with 39%.

Even more crucial: 60% of managers feel critical thinking/problem solving is the soft skill lacking the most among recent college graduates.

‘Skills gap’ meets ‘perception gap’

‘”We hear all the time about the ‘skills gap,’ the gap between the skills needed to succeed in the professional world and the skills with which young professionals leave college,” Payscale VP Katie Bardaro said in a press release. “The data we’ve collected show that even though their education may make recent college graduates feel prepared to enter the workforce, only half of hiring managers agree with them; managers feel crucial skills in recent graduates are frequently lacking or absent.”

Check out some other findings in the report:

  • Overall, the majority of workers (87%) feel well prepared (immediately or within 3 months) for their job upon graduation from college. In contrast, only about half of managers (50%) feel that employees who recently graduated from college are well prepared for the workforce.
  • A higher percentage of managers who are Millennials (55%) feel that recent college graduates are well-prepared compared to managers from older generations (47% Gen X, 48% Baby Boomers).
  • Tech skills are the ticket to higher-paying positions — as much a 22% higher.
  • The most common skills held by workers at the executive level are business management, IT management and profit and loss (P&L) statements.
  • The most common skills held by workers at the director level are donor relations, software development, management, and senior financial management.
  • The most common skills held by workers at the manager or supervisor level are training management, property management and event management.

PayScale provides employers with comparative data on salaries. Future Workplace is and executive development firm.

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