College Learning and Career Success: Employers’ Perspectives

March 2, 2015

falling-short-college-learning-and-career-success-1-638Hart Research Associates conducted an online survey among 400 employers and 613 college students in late 2014 on behalf of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. The survey focused on how prepared they believe college students are in a variety of areas. They found that at least 4 in 5 employers rate the following as very important for career success: oral communication; working effectively with others in teams; written communication; ethical judgment and decision making; critical/analytical thinking; applying knowledge/skills to real world. An even more revealing finding is that only 1 in 6 employers view college majors as a key to success.

According to the survey, 3 in 5 employers believe that it takes possessing both field-specific knowledge and a broad range of knowledge for recent college graduates to achieve long-term career success. The survey also revealed that employers are more likely than students to think that improvements are needed to ensure college graduates attain the skills and knowledge required for success:

  • 88% think that it is important for colleges to ensure that all students are prepared with the skills/knowledge needed to complete a significant applied learning project.
  • 60% believe that all college students should be expected to complete a significant applied learning project before graduating.
  • 80% say that it is very important for recent grads to demonstrate the ability to apply learning in real-world settings.

Employers perceive great value in students completing a project-based applied learning project, such as a service-learning project with a community organization, study abroad programs, or an internship/apprenticeship with a company/organization.

For more details about the survey, please visit: