NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: EJ995750
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Mar-4
Pages: 0
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
The Employment Mismatch
Fischer, Karin
Chronicle of Higher Education, Mar 2013
Employers value a four-year college degree, many of them more than ever. Yet half of those surveyed recently by "The Chronicle" and American Public Media's "Marketplace" said they had trouble finding recent graduates qualified to fill positions at their company or organization. Nearly a third gave colleges just fair to poor marks for producing successful employees. And they dinged bachelor's-degree holders for lacking basic workplace proficiencies, like adaptability, communication skills, and the ability to solve complex problems. What gives? These days a bachelor's degree is practically a prerequisite for getting one's resume read--two-thirds of employers said they never waive degree requirements, or do so only for particularly outstanding candidates. But clearly the credential leaves employers wanting. While they use college as a sorting mechanism, to signal job candidates' discipline and drive, they think it is falling short in adequately preparing new hires. The tension may lie partly in changes in the world of work: technological transformation and evolving expectations that employees be ready to handle everything straightaway. And perhaps managers are right to expect an easier time finding employees up to the task--after all, three times the proportion of Americans have bachelor's degrees now as did a generation or two ago. While some institutions tout their career centers, internship offerings, and academic programs designed with industry input, others argue that workplace skills ought to be taught on the job. Higher education is meant to educate broadly, not train narrowly, they say: It is business that is asking too much. And if college graduates are not up to scratch, some campus leaders ask, why do employers keep hiring them? The unemployment rate for Americans with bachelor's degrees, after all, is less than 5 percent; for those with only high-school diplomas, it is nearly double. Well, because even though employers may kvetch about college graduates, they generally make better employees than those who finished only high school. If nothing else, having gone through four--or five or six--years of schooling proves that they can stick with a task.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; Tel: 202-466-1000; Fax: 202-452-1033; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A