Study: States With The Most & Least Student Debt

Business Leaders Say Recent College Grads are Unprepared to Work. Here’s Why

Nearly 40% of business leaders say recent college grads are unprepared for the workforce. The most commonly cited reason? Their work ethic. surveyed 1,243 business leaders to learn about their experience with recent college graduates (classes 2020-2023) entering the workforce. Work ethic and communication skills were the top reasons why business leaders think recent grads are unprepared.

Amongst business leaders who say recent grads are unprepared, 88% believe that this is truer today compared to graduates from over 3 years ago, and 94% admit they avoid hiring recent grads at times.


When asked who or what is to blame for recent college grads’ lack of preparedness, most business leaders (62%) say culture. Additionally, 50% think the lack of preparedness is due to parents, 46% say educators, and 48% say the pandemic.

But not everyone thinks so poorly of recent college grads. Diane Gayeski, Professor of Strategic Communication at Ithaca College, says that while recent college grads may have a different communication style, they offer unique skillsets that the older generation tends to lack.

“Recent college grads don’t communicate in the way that their 50-year-old executives do, but they are effective in collaborating and getting things done using their own tools of social media, texting, and applications like Slack and Google Docs,” Gayeski says.

Moreover, Gayeski believes that it’s not just recent grads who are “unprepared” for the workforce. Actually, everyone is.

“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,” Gayeski says.

Rather than place the blame solely on Gen Z, Gayeski believes organizations should adapt and better understand their incoming employees.

“The trick for smart organizations will be to understand the styles and values of the incoming cohort, and for leaders to ask themselves how they can create organizations that do well and do good – for their employees and their customers,” Gayeski says. “They’ll find no shortage of smart young professionals who can bring important new perspectives on how to efficiently accomplish goals and create environments that are conducive to the growth of both employees and the bottom line.”


The study is based off a survey conducted on July 27 using the survey platform Pollfish, which utilizes Random Device Engagement (RDE) to ensure both random and organic surveying.

Demographic criteria of survey respondents included: age (30-60), household income (>$75,000), employment status (employed for wages), organizational role (C-Level executive, HR manager, director, president, owner/partner, senior management), and company size (>10).

Sources:, Pollfish

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