Kevin Gray, ext. 139
Andrea Koncz, ext. 121, 610.868.1421
February 22, 2018
Employers, Students Differ in Perception of Graduates’ “Career Readiness”
BETHLEHEM, PA—How ready are new college graduates to make a successful transition into the workplace? Students entering the job market and potential employers have very different perceptions about the “career readiness” of new college graduates, according to research by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).
Using eight competencies that NACE has identified as constituting “career readiness,” employers and graduating seniors were asked to indicate how proficient new graduates were in each. For the most part, employers were less likely to view new college graduates as proficient in these competencies than were the students themselves. (See Figure 1.) This can be problematic because it suggests that employers see skills gaps in key areas where college students don’t believe gaps exist.
In particular, employers and graduating seniors differed greatly when it came to new graduate proficiency in professionalism/work ethic, oral/written communications, and leadership. The biggest gap was in the professionalism competency: Nearly 90 percent of seniors believe they are proficient, but less than half of employers agree with that assessment.
The greatest agreement between the two groups was around new graduates’ ability to work in teams. More than three-quarters of employers said new graduates were proficient, compared to 85 percent of the students.
Only in terms of the technology-related competency were employers more likely than their student counterparts to view new graduates as proficient. Nearly 66 percent of employers rated new graduates as proficient in digital technology—the ability to leverage technologies to solve problems, complete tasks, and accomplish goals—compared to just under 60 percent of graduating seniors.
Figure 1: Employer vs. Student Perception of Proficiency in Career Readiness Competencies, by Percentage of Respondents
About NACE’s Career Readiness Definition and Competencies: NACE defines career readiness as “the attainment and demonstration of requisite competencies that broadly prepare college graduates for a successful transition into the workplace.” For more information about NACE’s career readiness competencies, see www.naceweb.org/career-readiness/competencies/career-readiness-defined/.
About NACE: Since 1956, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has been the leading source of information about the employment of college graduates. For more information, visit www.naceweb.org. NACE maintains a virtual press room for the media.