Budding Workforce Falls Short of Employer Expectations

October 4, 2006 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Employers are not impressed with the skills of those workers freshly out of school and eager to pounce into the workforce, according to a recent survey.

Ranking at the top of the list of skills employers hold fundamental are applied skills such as teamwork, critical thinking and communication – abilities that the survey found outweighed basic knowledge skills such as reading and mathematics. However, respondents conveyed that it is important to strike a balance between the two skill sets, according to a press release on the report recently released by the Conference Board.

Forty percent of respondents said that high school graduates are not prepared for the jobs they fill, finding they lack the basic needed skills in reading comprehension, writing and math.

The survey also found that 70% of respondents cited shortfalls among high school graduates in applied skills, such as professionalism and work ethic. Graduates fell short on “demonstrating personal accountability, effective work habits,” such as punctuality, working productively with others and time and workload management, the release said.

The strength of different skill sets varied among the different categories of graduates. For instance, written communication skills – though it placed at the top level of deficiency at every education level – improved as the education level of workers’ increased. High school graduates showed a deficiency in written communication of 80.9%, two-year college/technical school graduates, 47.3%, and four-year college graduates, 27.8%.

Nearly three-fourths of respondents said that creativity and innovation as skills are expected to become more valuable for future graduates. Sixty-three percent said foreign languages would be of increasing importance, and 53% said that understanding the cultural impact of globalization and the global markets would increasingly become important.

Whether it be high school, technical school or college graduates, the confidence employers have in hiring these workers has slipped, leaving employers with their expectations in applicants’ basic knowledge and skills dwindling, according to the Conference Board report.

The survey included responses of about 430 human resource officials.

For the full Conference Board report go here .