STUDY: Half Of Employers Don’t Think College Prepares Students For Work

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Rob Shimshock Education Reporter
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Approximately half of U.S. human resource leaders don’t think that college prepares students for work, according to a study published Tuesday.

Additionally, over 200 of the 600 HR leaders surveyed indicated that colleges bore the most responsibility in preparing students for work, according to a Learning House and Future Workplace survey press release obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Schools [are] charging more money than ever before yet they haven’t taken it upon themselves to form stronger bonds with employers,” Future Workplace research director Dan Schawbel told TheDCNF. “Everyone wins if you close the skills gap … The best way to market the school is placement rate…employers benefit because they fulfill their skills gap.”

Up to 500 job openings exist among 70 percent of the companies surveyed, around half of them due to unqualified applicants. A plurality of the HR leaders polled pointed to technology and IT as the toughest capacities to fill at their companies and 63 percent of the respondents denoted information systems as the most desired college major.

“Very few employers want to hire liberal arts majors,” the research director said, referencing a two percent estimate from another survey. He also mentioned that “no one cares about GPA anymore,” suggesting only around one percent of employers indicated that they valued the metric.

Companies tended to favor hard skills over soft skills, with 59, 47, and 47 percent of HR leaders indicating they wanted candidates with analytical skills, project management, and computer skills, respectively; meanwhile, the most wanted soft skills were teamwork, ability to adjust to change, and leadership, with 38, 37, and 37 percent of employers seeking those skills.

A full 90 percent of employers are open to accepting applicants who have not obtained a traditional, four-year degree. Schawbel noted that Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers publicly ditched their traditional degree requirements.

“If the schools were the best … then I don’t there’d be this many competitors,” Schawbel explained to TheDCNF. Colleges advertise themselves with hiring rates, he explained but also suggested the figures aren’t always what they seem to be.

“Colleges are so desperate … that they’re willing to kind of game the system,” the research director continued. “Things are so bad that … in order to maintain their placement rates and results they actually hire back their own graduates instead of those graduates getting jobs outside of the school.”

The Learning House and Future Workplace surveyed the 600 HR leaders between March 22 and 27, 2018 and reported a four percent margin of error.

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