EMPLOYERS VALUE LEADERSHIP AND HIGH GPAs
Aside from particular majors, NACE respondents were also seeking particular traits among graduates. For one, grades matter. 69.3% of employers admit that they screen GPAs – with a 3.0 average consistently being the cutoff. Alas, employers have become more lenient in this regard, considering that 78.3% of employers factored in GPAs according to NACE’s 2013 report. Most notably, 80% or more of accounting services, financials, and management consulting firms evaluate GPAs when making hiring decisions.
Beyond GPAs, extracurriculars, and work experience, employers are also placing increasing emphasis on “soft skills.” In particular, they’re looking for evidence on a resume of leadership skills. According to the study, 80.1% of decision-makers value leadership – the highest percentage for any skills. Teamwork (78.9%), written communication skills (70.2%), problem-solving skills (70.2%), verbal communication skills (68.9%), and a strong work ethic (68.9%) also ranked highly among employers when employers review resumes.
When it comes to influencing hiring decisions, employers rate academic major number one. On a five point scale where 5 means “extreme influence” and 1 translates to “no influence at all,” major scored a 4.0 – with leadership just a shade lower at 3.9. Despite academia’s push for a more global perspective in its curricula, employers place the least weight in these areas, with foreign language fluency (2.2) and studying abroad (2.0) finishing last when it comes to influential hiring factors.