National survey finds 80% of college seniors feel prepared for the workforce

Last week, McGraw-Hill released its third-annual Workforce Readiness Survey, which includes responses from 1,360 current college students across the country (from freshmen to graduate students). These students were asked for their opinion on how they perceive college has prepared them for their future career.

Career preparedness

80% of college seniors felt either somewhat or very prepared for a professional career. Broken down by field of major, business and economics students feel most prepared, followed by those in the social sciences and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.

The most important factors students cited that would make them more prepared to start their careers were more professional experience and internships and additional career preparation efforts. The least important was choosing a more relevant major or concentration.

About 2/3 of respondents believed their current major would help them secure a job after gradation due to the opportunities in many different career fields for graduates of their major. In Utah, many college graduates are working in areas that aren’t directly related to their field of study or major.

70% of the students surveyed felt optimistic about their job prospects in 2016, which speaks to the continually improving economy.

College satisfaction

An incredible 79% of students reported being satisfied with their overall college experience. And 61% felt adequately prepared to meet the challenges of college based on their experiences in high school.

Skills learned in college

The top skills students reported learning in college (the ones most relevant to their future career) were the following:

Students believed, above all, that interpersonal skills would make for a good job candidate. This belief coincides with employers who state they are looking for potential employees with the necessary “soft skills” in order to be successful in the workplace.

Campus career resources

86% of respondents believed available career resources at their colleges were effective. More than 3/4 of respondents reported using the available campus resources, with 21% using them “a lot.”

Career perceptions

Living a well-rounded, happy life was the most important planning priority to respondents, above both “finding a rewarding job” and “finding a well-paying job.” And 57% preferred a job that pays less but has a beneficial impact for society, over a job that pays well with no beneficial impact on society. Similarly, 80% preferred a job they love over a job that pays well.

Cost of college

72% of respondents considered cost to be one of the biggest factors in determining where to attend college. Students rated academics, cost, value (quality of academics at the best price) and flexible course options (e.g. remote, part-time, weekends) as the most important factors when deciding which college to attend.

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Trisha Dugovic
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