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21st Century Workforce: Employers' Ratings of Importance and Satisfaction of Skills and Competencies College Graduates Need to Get Hired in the Northeast

Anthony M Baird, Johnson & Wales University

Abstract

In the fast growing, global economy, Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are directly linked to economic growth through skills and productivity of their graduates (Finch et al., 2016). Unfortunately, several research studies reported that the broader business community is generally dissatisfied with the job that colleges and universities are doing in teaching these skills to graduates (Busteed, 2015a; Busteed 2015b; Dua, 2013; McMurray et al., 2016). ^ This quantitative research study investigated employers’ rating of Importance and Satisfaction of skills and competencies necessary for hiring college graduates. Moreover, descriptions of employers’ rating of Importance and Satisfaction were examined. The research questions that guided the study were: 1) What skills and competencies do employers rate as Important for college graduates seeking employment? 2) What skills and competencies do employers rate as Satisfied with for college graduates seeking employment?^ A descriptive, quantitative research study was designed to describe the skills and competencies employers rated to be Important and Satisfied with when hiring college graduates. The participants included employers (N=50) who are regional chamber members in the Northeast. A questionnaire was used to collect data on employers’ ratings of skills and competencies based on Importance and Satisfaction.^ Analyses revealed that for skills and competencies Importance , 94% of employers rated Interpersonal Skills most Important, 16% of employers rated Global Business Economy Skills the least Important. Dimension level Importance, 78% of employers rated Communication Skills most Important, while 18% of employers rated Personality, Leadership Skills, and Teamwork the least Important skills and competencies for college graduates seeking employment. ^ Additionally, 76% of the employers rated Technical/Computer Knowledge the highest level Satisfaction; 18% of employers rated Written Communications Skills the lowest level of Satisfaction. Dimension level Satisfaction, 80% of employers rated Career Preparation and Professional Readiness Skills first at a high level of Satisfaction, while 88% of employers rated Communication Skills with the lowest level of Satisfaction for college graduates seeking employment.^ The findings of this study could assist in updating current HEIs curriculum and course offerings. Moreover, it may stimulate conversation among employers, students, higher education administrators, and policymakers about ways to better incorporate employers and workforce needs with students’ preparation before graduation.^

Subject Area

Higher education administration|Labor economics|Business education

Recommended Citation

Baird, Anthony M, "21st Century Workforce: Employers' Ratings of Importance and Satisfaction of Skills and Competencies College Graduates Need to Get Hired in the Northeast" (2016). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI10250179.
http://scholarsarchive.jwu.edu/dissertations/AAI10250179