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  • Employers Identify Four “Must Have” Career Readiness Competencies for College Graduates

    April 20, 2016 | By NACE Staff

    A candidate takes part in a group interview.

    TAGS: competencies, nace insights

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals

    When asked to rate the career readiness competencies of college graduates in terms of “essential need,” employers view four as vital, according to results of NACE’s Job Outlook 2016 Spring Update.

    NACE’s seven career readiness competencies represent the skills, experiences, and attributes that broadly prepare students for a successful transition into the work force. (Click here for the competencies and their definitions.)

    Employers deemed their top four career readiness competencies—critical thinking/problem solving, professionalism/work ethic, teamwork, and communications skills—to be between “essential” and “absolutely essential” in the college graduates they are looking to hire. (See Figure 1.)

    These results are consistent with those posted a year ago, indicating that these competencies are virtual “must haves.”

    The Job Outlook 2016 Spring Update survey was conducted from February 10 – March 22, 2016. The survey was sent to 944 NACE members; 144, or 15.3 percent, responded. NACE members can access the Job Outlook 2016 Spring Update report through MyNACE.

    Figure 1: Employers Rate Career Readiness Competencies in Terms of Essential Need (2016 vs. 2015)

    Competency Essential Need Rating
    2016 2015
    Critical Thinking/Problem Solving 4.7 4.7
    Professionalism/Work Ethic 4.7 4.5
    Teamwork 4.6 4.6
    Oral/Written Communications 4.4 4.4
    Information Technology Application 3.9 3.9
    Leadership 3.9 3.9
    Career Management 3.6 3.6
    Weighted average. Based on a 5-point scale where 1=Not essential; 2=Not very essential; 3=Somewhat essential; 4=Essential; 5=Absolutely essential.

    Source: Job Outlook 2016 Spring Update, National Association of Colleges and Employers