I know that I know nothing.
Only some graduate students recognize the fact they are not entirely ready for the job market. And here the problem comes: when they start looking for a job, they do not clearly understand why they do not fit employers’ expectations.
“This is because I can’t do math or don’t know technology or science enough”, a young specialist says and he does not understand that the problem is the lack of so-called soft skills. Today employers face a quite unexpected problem when they try to get a graduate hired: young people do not know anything about office life fundamentals.
According to a survey of the St. Louis Community College Workplace Solutions Group, about 60% of employers find a lack of interpersonal and communication skills among applicants who come to get hired. If to check the results of a survey by Adecco staffing company, 44% of respondents considered critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity a big problem for applicants. So, it seems that technical skills do not play the main role for employers when they are about to hire an entry-level professional.
Yes, science skills are very important for an applicant to have if they are going to work with academics, but the majority of bosses are more concerned and interested in applicants’ interpersonal proficiency: they want employees to be able to solve problems, organize and plan their work, play in a team, prioritize their work, etc. The problem is, candidates are usually lack in interpersonal skills, flexibility, punctuality and motivation though their theoretical knowledge is quite enough as for positions they apply for. It is believed that technical skills can be easily and quickly improved, though a lack of soft skills is a big pitfall when it comes to a young specialist’s place at the job market.
And what about internships?
Just take a look at this survey by Harris Interactive for Chegg textbook company. They asked 2,000 students and 1,000 hiring managers to learn the situation with internship and the expectations of both sides on that, and the results were quite impressive:
- 80% of employers expect graduates to complete a formal internship;
- only 8% of students are ready to spend time doing that (instead of eating out, spend time with friends, or work in some unrelated jobs).
Plus, only 40% of bosses think that graduates are entirely prepared for the workplace when about 50% of students are sure they are.
Speaking about different types of internships, the results of this survey differ as well: 44% of students who do not intern consider themselves ready for the workplace; 58% of students with unpaid internships think the same; and the number of such confident students jumps to 70% when it comes to paid internships.
The gap between managers’ perceptions of applicants’ abilities and students’ perceptions of those skills are very huge. The difference between these two groups is 22%.
Experts say that teaching required soft skills are just harder than teaching technical skills to applicants; and that is the main reason why many good and theoretically savvy candidates find it problematic to get hired after graduation.
image source: http://www.utm.utoronto.ca/prospective-students/student-blog/archive