Why Business Leaders Think College Grads Aren’t Ready To Work

A new survey reveals that employers are largely unsatisfied with the level of preparedness in newly graduated hires. Among 1,243 business leaders quizzed by Intelligent.com, 4 in 10 say college grads are “very” or “somewhat” unprepared for the workforce.

Pre-pandemic, employers were looking for 2 skills in B-school graduates: problem solving and working well with others. But expectations have since shifted. According to Forbes, the top five most in-demand skills employers are expected to be seeking for the next decade are digital literacy, data literacy, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and creativity.

So what irks employers most about the talent pool of new college grads? Among survey respondents, 88% say college graduates from the last three years are less prepared for the workforce than in years prior. Seventy percent say recent college grads lack preparedness due to their work ethic, 70% think they lack communication skills, 71% say they are “entitled,” and 43% think they lack technological skills.

NEW GRADS WANT EMPLOYERS WHO ARE HONEST & WHO OFFER AUTONOMY

Diane Gayeski, professor of strategic communication at Ithaca College and principal of Gayeski Analytics, says the problem is not so much college grads’ preparedness as it is a rapidly evolving workplace.

“Actually, nobody is prepared for the workplace of 2023,” Gayeski says in the Intelligent.com report. “It’s changed dramatically because the digital transformation and hybrid workforce trends that began a decade ago accelerated during the Covid-19 lockdowns, and both methods and attitudes towards work are now vastly different.”

While business school students might not be fully prepared to meet the needs and expectations of employers fresh out of business school, many actually have rapidly changing expectations of their employers and workplaces as well.

EDHEC Business School released a report in July that shows the workplace landscape is shifting as the younger generation of workers are looking to gain entirely different outcomes from work compared to the elder generations. This could shed light on why many employers are finding some prospects to be not quite what they’re looking for.

Gen Z’s identity has been shaped by the digital age, climate anxiety, a shifting financial landscape, and Covid-19. According to their responses in Edhec’s report, the main expectations young workers have of their employers are transparency and honesty (73%), trust and autonomy (67%), team protection and defense (49%) and recognition of good work (48%). Additionally, 1-in-2 surveyed grads say they positively benefited from some kind of onboarding program when they were first hired.

GRADS THINK BUSINESS LEADERS ARE UNPREPARED FOR THEM

When all is said and done, graduates still want to land careers, and they have some concerns. In spring 2022, Highered looked at responses from over 1,000 students, both undergraduates and post-graduates representing 111 nationalities living in 96 countries, and found a high level of concern about job prospects in a time of rapid and complex change — especially when it came to getting a job in “Industry 4.0,” or the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Highered found that 30% of B-school students feared that they lack the digital skills to prepare for employment, nearly 90% thought that skills like data analytics and search engine marketing are now considered “entry-level” requirements, and 71% believe that senior leaders have a poor understanding of digital skills and Industry 4.0.

See the survey results from Intelligent.com’s new poll here.

DON’T MISS WHAT DOES GENERATION Z WANT IN A JOB? THIS STUDY HAS ANSWERS AND EMPLOYERS ARE LOOKING FOR THESE 2 SKILLS IN B-SCHOOL GRADUATES

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.