A graduate with proficiency and skills garnered from across disciplines is more likely to find favour with company job recruiters, according to a new survey for the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

The survey sought the views of 500 private sector business executives and 500 recruitment managers on the graduate learning outcomes they deemed as most important.

These included oral communication, critical thinking, ethical judgment, working effectively in teams, working independently, self motivation, written communication, and real-world application of skills and knowledge.

Respondents indicated they were satisfied with recent graduates’ ability to apply in the workplace the skills and knowledge they had learned while studying. However, the consensus was that the graduates were “better prepared to succeed in entry-level positions rather than to advance or be promoted”.

“Only 33% of executives and 39% of hiring managers think that recent graduates are very well prepared to apply knowledge and skills to real-world settings,” it adds.


Project-based learning experiences

Previous participation in applied and project-based learning experiences – particularly internships or apprenticeships – gives recent graduates an edge in the job market, the report says.

When considering a job candidate, a large majority of recruiters said that completion of “other types of applied and project-based learning experiences” would give a recent graduate an advantage in the hiring process.

A majority of respondents also said say believe “it is very important or absolutely essential” for individuals today to complete a university education and that it is time well spent.

The report notes that nearly all the business executives and hiring managers who were part of the survey had a university degree.

It also adds that employers find “electronic portfolios that summarise and demonstrate a candidate’s accomplishments in key skill and knowledge areas” more useful than transcripts alone in evaluating recent graduates’ potential to succeed in the workplace.

Read more – Fulfilling the American Dream: Liberal Education and the Future of Work Selected Findings from Online Surveys of Business Executives and Hiring Managers