Preparedness Paradoxes

Career College Central summary:

  • The narrative that today’s college graduates aren’t prepared for work doesn’t appear to be going away, no matter how much college officials (not to mention students) might like that. But one thing does seem to be changing: the willingness of higher education to address the issue.
  • The latest to shine a light on the problem is Bentley University, which released a survey today highlighting graduates’ struggles in the work place. While it reveals significant conflict between students’ self-perceptions and the extent to which employers believe they’re prepared for work, as well as some disagreement over who should take responsibility for students’ lack of preparedness, Bentley President Gloria Cordes Lawson believes there’s much more reason for optimism than pessimism. Larson says the overwhelming narrative from most surveys – that businesses are finding recent graduates unprepared and even unemployable – does not square with what administrators on her Massachusetts campus hear from recruiters, or with the survey's findings.
  • Thirty-five percent of business leaders in this survey did say the recent graduates they have hired would get a “C” or lower for preparation, if graded. However, they don’t believe the fault rests entirely with students. Although respondents generally say it’s primarily the students’ responsibility to better prepare themselves for the work place, just over half of business decision-makers and 43 percent of corporate recruiters said the business community itself deserves a “C” or lower on how well they are preparing recent grads for their first jobs. (Many businesses are not training new hires like they used to, leaving colleges and private companies to fill in.) And nearly half of higher education officials surveyed said the same of their own performance.

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