Employers have said that college graduates may think they are prepared for the work force, but they’re not. While college students think schooling is getting them prepared for their future job, it may not be.

A survey released by PayScale showed that nearly 90% of all college graduates believe they are well prepared for the job they get. However, 60% of companies surveyed stated they believe grads lack critical thinking skills. Another 56% of companies believe they lack attention to detail job skills, while 44% found issues with graduates writing proficiency and 39% found their public speaking ability to be lacking.

There’s a Serious Skills Gap

“Skills gap” is one of the common terms used by employers when they speak about college grads. It’s the gap between the necessary skills to become successful in the professional world and the skills gained during time at college. Managers believe many of the necessary skills for success are lacking in recent graduates. This has caused a serious skills gap for those entering the work force.

The problem isn’t with the students, but with the colleges and universities. Many believe an aggressive approach to incorporate high-impact educational practices is the answers. These practices help to connect academic learning with real-world problem solving to nurture critical thinking skills.

Academic skills are not enough to succeed in the job market today. Employers need workers with the ability to communicate, think creatively, solve problems and get tasks done with minimal supervision. More than 90% of employers value these skills, known as “soft” aptitudes over any specific college major, according to a survey from the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Top Skills Bosses Believe College Graduates Lack

When college graduates get ready to enter the work force, there’s a significant gap in skills. Companies believe there are specific skills they lack. Here are the top nine according the PayScale Survey of nearly 64,000 managers and over 14,000 college graduates.

  • Writing Proficiency
  • Public Speaking Skills
  • Data Analysis
  • Critical Thinking
  • Problem Solving
  • Attention to Detail
  • Communication Skills
  • Leadership Qualities
  • Teamwork Skills

While employers believe these skills are lacking, the percentage of college graduates thinking they are well prepared is still very high. According to the survey, 25% of graduates believe they are extremely prepared, while 62% believe they are mostly prepared. Only 50% of managers believe college graduates are well prepared for a job after they graduate.

Gaining the Necessary Skills

College may provide knowledge and some very sheltered life experiences for students. However, it cannot compare to on-the-job training or the high-impact practices (HIP) some college are using today. A 2015 survey done by the Carnegie Foundation found that students feel more confident when they enter the job market, if they’ve participated in HIP. Employers are starting to highly value HIP experience, as well.

Two studies have already shown students going through HIP have higher GPAS and some higher-education institutions are recognizing the power of the program. With plenty of job prospects waiting, college graduates need to be prepared. High-impact educational practices are part of the answer to the problem.

In addition, students need to take it upon themselves to develop critical thinking, writing and communication skills. You don’t have to graduate from college and find out you’re not prepared. With the right training and help, you can become very successful in the professional world.

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