“Are They Really Ready To Work?”: Employers' Perspectives on New Entrants to the Workforce

  • Posted by: J. Kent Gervasini |
  • 10/4/11 |
  • 1:50 PM
“Are They Really Ready To Work?”: Employers' Perspectives on New Entrants to the Workforce
As the baby boom generation slowly exits the U.S. workplace, a survey of leaders from this consortium of business research organizations found the incoming generation sorely lacking in much needed workplace skills — both basic academic and more advanced “applied” skills.
In collaboration, The Conference Board, Corporate Voices for Working Families, The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conducted an in-depth study of the corporate/business perspective on the readiness of new entrants into the U.S. workforce by level of educational attainment.

Employers have consistently identified a “skills gap” in recent graduates at all levels which could be consistent with the rise in Generation Y entering the work force. Generation Y, those born between 1978 and 1999, is the first generation to fully use technology such as instant messaging, cell phones, and e-mail creating opportunities to make all sorts of decisions in consultation with peers and parents.

But here we are, the future U.S. workforce is here—and it is woefully ill-prepared for the demands of today’s (and tomorrow’s) workplace especially in the area of “applied skills”. The report is based on a detailed survey of 431 human resource officials that was conducted in April and May 2006.

4 Main Applied Skills

Applied skills are consistently sought by employers to ensure business success but continually are identified as lacking in recent college graduates

1. Professionalism and Work Ethic
Demonstrate personal accountability, effective work habits (e.g., punctuality, working productivity with others, and time and workload management)

2. Teamwork and Collaboration
Build collaborative relationships with colleagues and customers, be able to work with diverse teams, negotiate and manage conflicts

3. Oral Communications (OC)
Articulate thoughts, ideas clearly and effectively, have public speaking skills.

4. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
Exercise sound reasoning and analytical thinking; use knowledge, facts, and data to solve workplace problems; apply math and science concepts to problem solving.

Source: http://www.21stcenturyskills.org/documents/FINAL_REPORT_PDF9-29-06.pdf

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