New College Grads Aren’t Ready for Work, Survey Says

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Many human resource professionals think this group of grads is unprofessional and can't write well. Are they wrong?

Hiring managers aren’t impressed with the class of 2013.

A slim majority (53 percent) of U.S. employers plan to hire recent grads this year, according to a survey of more than 450 human resources professionals released by the Society for Human Resource Management.

Not having jobs to fill is the main reason more companies aren’t hiring, cited by 68 percent. But 20 percent of hiring managers say new grads are under-qualified for their open positions.

Even those who are hiring new grads have complaints. They were asked if they thought grads in general have more of an advantage, less of an advantage, or the same odds in the job market as everyone else. Nearly a quarter said new grads have less of an advantage.

Some of that is an understandable lack of experience. Twenty-two percent of those managers said their companies aren’t hiring for entry-level positions.

But some of it is concern about basic skills, the study shows. Here’s some of what those hiring this year believe new grads lack:

  • Professionalism/work ethic — 50 percent.
  • Writing ability — 49 percent.
  • Relationship-building skills — 33 percent.
  • Initiative — 29 percent.
  • Critical thinking ability — 29 percent.
  • Basic math skills — 18 percent. 

These attitudes suggest grads could leave a strong impression with a professional, well-written cover letter. Here’s how to write one.

Most of those surveyed represent private for-profit companies with fewer than 500 employees. Do you think they’re out of touch, or spot-on about fresh graduates? Let us know on Facebook.

Stacy Johnson

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