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  • Employers Rate Career Competencies, New Hire Proficiency

    December 11, 2017 | By NACE Staff

    Competencies
    Young employees work at their first job.

    TAGS: competencies, trends and predictions, surveys, spotlight

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals

    Employers responding to NACE’s Job Outlook 2018 survey rated critical thinking/problem solving as the most essential competency among new hires. However, they also rated their new hires more proficient in other competencies.

    In terms of the competencies they want in their new hires, employers rated critical thinking/problem solving as most essential. This was followed by teamwork/collaboration and professionalism/work ethic. (See Figure 1.)

    In terms of proficiency, new hires appear to be hitting the mark on two competencies—teamwork and digital technology. (See Figure 2.) More than three-quarters of responding employers rated new graduates as very or extremely proficient in teamwork, and almost two-thirds rated them very or extremely proficient in digital technology. (See Figure 3.)

    In contrast, the remaining competencies have far fewer respondents giving students high marks in proficiency, suggesting employers see skills gaps in these areas.

    Data for the Job Outlook 2018 survey were collected from August 9, 2017, through October 2, 2017. A total of 201 surveys were returned—a 20.5 percent response rate. The Job Outlook 2018 report is available to members through MyNACE; nonmembers can purchase the report through the NACE store.

    Figure 1: Employers Rate the Essential Need of the Career Readiness Competencies

    Competencies Weighted Average Rating*
    Critical Thinking/Problem Solving 4.62
    Teamwork/Collaboration 4.56
    Professionalism/Work Ethic 4.46
    Oral/Written Communications 4.30
    Leadership 3.82
    Digital Technology 3.73
    Career Management 3.46
    Global/Multi-cultural Fluency 3.01
    Source: Job Outlook 2018, National Association of Colleges and Employers. *5-point scale, where 1=Not essential, 2=Not very essential, 3=Somewhat essential, 4=essential, 5=Absolutely essential.

    Figure 2: Employers Rate Recent Graduates on the Eight Career Readiness Competencies

    Competencies Weighted Average Rating*
    Teamwork/Collaboration 3.82
    Digital Technology 3.71
    Critical Thinking/Problem Solving 3.58
    Oral/Written Communications 3.39
    Professionalism/Work Ethic 3.35
    Leadership 3.28
    Career Management 3.01
    Global/Multi-cultural Fluency 2.94
    Source: Job Outlook 2018, National Association of Colleges and Employers. *5-point scale, where 1=Not at all proficient, 2=Not very proficient, 3=Somewhat proficient, 4=Very proficient, 5=Extremely proficient.

    Figure 3: Need vs. Proficiency of Career Readiness Competencies, by Percent of Respondents

    Competencies Considered Essential* Rated Proficient**
    Teamwork/Collaboration 97.5% 77.0%
    Digital Technology 64.2% 65.8%
    Critical Thinking/Problem Solving 99.2% 55.8%
    Professionalism/Work Ethic                   100% 42.5%
    Oral/Written Communications 95.9% 41.6%
    Leadership 68.6% 33.0%
    Global/Multi-Cultural Fluency                 31.1% 20.7%
    Career Management 47.1% 17.3%
    Source: Job Outlook 2018, National Association of Colleges and Employers. * The percentages corresponding to “considered essential” represent, among all responding employers, the percentage who, on a five-point scale, indicated that the respective competency was either “essential” (4) or “absolutely essential” (5) for college graduates to enter their work force. **The percentages corresponding to “rated proficient” represent, among all responding employers, the percentage who, on a five-point scale, rated recent graduates either “very” (4) or “extremely” (5) proficient in the respective competency.