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  • Employers Rate Competencies, Students’ Career Readiness

    February 22, 2017 | By NACE Staff

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    TAGS: competencies, career readiness, spotlight

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    Employers rating the eight competencies NACE has associated with career readiness in terms of essential need in the scope of hiring new college graduates put “critical thinking/problem solving” and “professionalism/work ethic” on top, according to results of Job Outlook 2017 survey.

    However, this same group of employers rated students most proficient in “teamwork/collaboration” and “digital technology.”

    For the third time since employers have been asked to provide these ratings, they rated “critical think/problem solving” the most essential competency. (See Figure 1.) “Professionalism/work ethic” is rated second highest.

    “Oral/written communications” and “teamwork/collaboration” are rated equally. (Note: The preference for teamwork was also indicated elsewhere in the Job Outlook 2017 report as 78 percent of employers cited teamwork as the most important attribute on a candidate’s resume.)

    “Leadership,” “digital technology,” and “career management” were somewhat essential in terms of rating; respondents rated “global/intercultural fluency” as just less than somewhat essential in terms of need.

    In terms of proficiency, recent graduates come closest to the “very proficient” rating in just two competencies—“teamwork/collaboration” and “digital technology.” (See Figure 2.) The rating for “critical thinking/problem solving” trailed slightly.

    Data for the Job Outlook 2017 survey were collected from August 5, 2016, through October 4, 2016. A total of 169 surveys were returned—a 17 percent response rate. The Job Outlook 2017 report is available to members through MyNACE.

    Figure 1: Employers rate the essential need of the career readiness competencies

    Competencies Weighted Average Rating
    Critical Thinking/Problem Solving 4.58
    Professionalism/Work Ethic 4.56
    Oral/Written Communications 4.43
    Teamwork/Collaboration 4.43
    Leadership 3.86
    Digital Technology 3.78
    Career Management 3.47
    Global/Intercultural Fluency 2.85
    Based on a 5-point scale where 1=Not essential; 2=Not very essential; 3=Somewhat essential; 4=Essential; 5=Absolutely essential. Source: Job Outlook 2017, National Association of Colleges and Employers

    Figure 2: Employers rate recent graduates on the eight career readiness competencies

    Competencies Weighted Average Rating
    Teamwork/Collaboration 3.96
    Digital Technology 3.92
    Critical Thinking/Problem Solving 3.59
    Professionalism/Work Ethic 3.43
    Oral/Written Communications 3.41
    Leadership 3.38
    Career Management 3.09
    Global/Intercultural Fluency 2.93
    Based on a 5-point scale where 1=Not at all proficient; 2=Not very proficient; 3=Somewhat proficient; 4=Very proficient; 5=Extremely proficient. Source: Job Outlook 2017, National Association of Colleges and Employers