A human resources survey conducted by the Society for Human Resources Management revealed some startling results. When rating college graduates, those surveyed indicated that:
- 49% of graduates lack basic grammar and spelling skills
- 18% of graduates come up short in math and computation
- 13% fault graduates’ spoken english
- 10% cite a lack of reading comprehension
- Nearly half detect a lack of business acumen
- 20% of graduates were under qualified for job opening
As a product of the “spell check and text message generation”, I’m not that surprised that 49% of graduates lack basic grammar and spelling skills. For whatever reason, it has become cool and common place to abbreviate words, and even make up new words entirely, as a means of communicating in the 21st century. Although I don’t believe this should be the case in the workplace, it never the less has infiltrated nearly every industry in some way.
To me, what is truly alarming is the staggering amount of college graduates that lack business acumen and are under qualified for job openings.
Degrees are becoming more and more specialized, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Learning a specific trade could allow you to stand out in your industry and master your craft at the highest level. However, it is imperative that you, whether you are an engineer or graphic designer, know the fundamentals of business development and operations. Providing proactive solutions to improving your company’s bottom line in some manner will grab the attention of your employer for all the right reasons. There’s no need to go back to school for an MBA in order to learn basic business acumen. Just spend a few minutes each week watching videos on the SBA.gov Learning Center and you will know enough to make a positive impact.
The fact that 20% of college graduates are under qualified for job openings speaks to the need of reimplementing apprenticeships and mentoring programs. College students need to spend less time in the classroom and more time in their field of study actually practicing their trade. “Under qualified” can mean so many things, most notably:
- Ability to work well with others using tact and diplomacy
- Excellent oral and written communication skills
- Ability to implement initiatives in a strategic manner with minimal supervision
These are commonly found required skills and experience on job postings. If a college graduate is book smart but has no idea how to relate to others in a diplomatic manner, he/ she is under qualified for the position. Furthermore, young professionals are seeking what I call “degree careers”. They are highly decorated academics with little, to no, work experience. Employers are seeking candidates with several years of work experience in addition to a specialized degree. After the Great Recession of 2008, there are plenty of qualified candidates in the job market that meet these requirements, closing the door for recent graduate students to land jobs.
This is just one reason why apprenticeships are essential to your career advancement. If you are still in college, find a mentor who can connect you with an opportunity to become an apprentice and take on as much responsibility as the company will give you. If you have already graduated and are currently job seeking, find organizations that align with your values and volunteer your time, putting your talents to the test. This is the best investment you will ever make – I guarantee it.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on these survey results. Which one of these results alarms you the most?