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  • Employers Cite Key “Career Readiness” Competencies for New Hires

    BETHLEHEM, PA—What career readiness competencies do employers deem to be most important in the new college graduates they hire?

    Critical thinking/problem solving, teamwork/collaboration, professionalism/work ethic, and oral/written communications are the most essential competencies for college graduates entering the job market, according to employers responding to a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). (See Figure 1.)

    Employers taking part in NACE’s Job Outlook 2019 survey were also asked to rate the relative importance of eight competencies that NACE has identified as associated with career readiness. There was some overlap between those employers think are most important and those they deem recent graduates to be most proficient in—notably, teamwork and critical thinking. (See Figure 2.)

    There has been little movement in terms of what employers deem most important and how they perceive the career readiness of new graduates: Employers have consistently cited the same four competencies as most important and the same three as those in which new graduates are most proficient since NACE first asked employers to weigh in on recent graduates and career readiness in its Job Outlook 2017 survey.

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

    Competencies Weighted Average Rating*
    2019
    Critical thinking/problem solving 4.66
    Teamwork/collaboration 4.48
    Professionalism/work ethic 4.41
    Oral/written communications 4.30
    Digital technology 3.84
    Leadership 3.65
    Career management 3.38
    Global/multi-cultural fluency 2.78
    Source: Job Outlook 2019, 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*
    2019
    Teamwork/collaboration 3.83
    Digital technology 3.76
    Critical thinking/problem solving 3.64
    Oral/written communications 3.49
    Professionalism/work ethic 3.47
    Leadership 3.31
    Global/multi-cultural fluency 3.13
    Career management 3.05
    Source: Job Outlook 2019, 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.

    About the Job Outlook 2019 survey: The Job Outlook survey is a forecast of hiring intentions of employers as they relate to new college graduates. Each year, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) surveys its employer members about their hiring plans and other employment-related issues in order to project the market for new college graduates for the current class and to assess a variety of conditions that may influence that market. The survey is conducted in two parts: fall and spring. This release is based on data gathered in the fall. Data were collected from August 1, 2018, through October 8, 2018, for the Job Outlook 2019 survey. A total of 172 surveys were returned—an 18.5 percent response rate.

    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.