Only 1 in 5 Students Feel Prepared for Today’s Job Market

Posted By Terri Williams on June 9, 2015 at 1:44 pm
Only 1 in 5 Students Feel Prepared for Today’s Job Market

Only 20 percent of college students feel “very prepared” to enter the job market, according to the 2015 Workforce Readiness Survey conducted by McGraw-Hill. Although 65% of students surveyed thought that high school prepared them for college, the majority don’t think that college has equipped them for the next phase of life.

When asked how prepared they were for the workforce,

  • 58% say their time at college should adequately prepare them for the workforce.
  • 35% say college was effective in preparing them for a job.
  • Only 20% responded that they feel very prepared for the workforce.

As for the specific reasons some students don’t feel confident entering the job market, most cite a lack of preparedness to find and interview for jobs. For example:

  • 51% did not learn how to write a resume in college.
  • 56% did not learn how to conduct themselves in a job interview.
  • 58% did not learn how to network or search for a job.

Most students feel that school could do a much better job of preparing them for the job market, offering the following recommendations:

  • 67% want more internships and professional experience.
  • 61% want classes designed to help build career skills.
  • 58% want more time to focus on career preparation.

Most colleges and universities do offer career services; however, a quarter of students have never taken advantage of these services, and only a third are impressed with their school’s career services program.

  • 33% think career services are effective.
  • 14% used career services “a lot.”
  • 25% have never used career services.

College students do, however, embrace technology and feel that it can help with the preparation process:

  • 80% say the use of study technology in college will improve their employment prospects.
  • 81% of students use mobile devices to study, which is a 40% increase from last year.

On the other hand, according to the Inside Higher Ed 2015 Survey of College and University Chief Academic Officers, college provosts are confident that they’re doing a good job preparing students to enter the workforce. The survey, conducted by Gallup, includes responses from 302 public and 283 private nonprofit colleges and universities.

When asked, “How would you rate the effectiveness of your institution in preparing students for the world of work?” provosts replied as follows:

Public Private Nonprofit
Very effective 53% 55%
Somewhat effective 44% 43%
Not too effective 3% 1%
Not effective at all 0 0

Responding provosts also believe that their institutions are “very effective” at providing a quality undergraduate education, and providing support services to undergraduate students.

Terri Williams
Terri Williams graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her education, career, and business articles have been featured on Yahoo! Education, U.S. News & World Report, The Houston Chronicle, and in the print edition of USA Today Special Edition. Terri is also a contributing author to "A Practical Guide to Digital Journalism Ethics," a book published by the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University Chicago.

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