Overconfident Students, Dubious Employers

According to results from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, Class of 2018 Job Outlook Survey, college students believe they’re ready for a job, but employers disagree.  For the most part, a high percentage of students indicated in most of the eight career readiness competencies that they were proficient. The largest discrepancy was in the professionalism/work ethic competency. These findings were supported by similar research conducted in 2015 by The Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Brandon Busteed, executive director of Gallup’s higher education division adds that research definitions can vary among employers and academia.  For instance, Gallup has found that generally, an employer believes “critical thinking” is coming up with new, original thought.  But in an academic sense, it can mean picking apart ideas in depth.  Another varied definition relates to written communication.  Some students might excel at writing technical reports or papers with citations, but this type of writing is far different than writing for marketing.

Figure describes Employer vs. Student Perception of Proficiency in career Readiness Competencies, by Percentage of Respondents.  The figure is divided by three columns consisting of competency, & of employers that rated recent grads and % of students who consider themselves proficient.  the eight career competency areas consist of professionalism/work ethic, oral/written communications, ciritcal thinking/problem solving, temworkcollaboration, leadership, digital technology, career management, global/intercutural fluency.