Employers view recent graduates as unprepared, study suggests

Many employers do not find young applicants to possess proper skills for jobs, which might contribute to high levels of unemployment among young people, according to a recent study by the McKinsey Center for Government.

The study, released Wednesday, observed different approaches to skill training in 25 countries, including the U.S. The report estimated 75 million young people are out of work globally while about 40 percent of surveyed employers feel applicants lack the necessary skills to fill entry-level positions.

“We have to work at closing the gap between what employers need and what universities provide,” said Boston University School of Education professor Joseph Cronin.

Only 43 percent of employers surveyed said they can find enough skilled entry-level workers, according to the report.

The estimate of unemployed young people potentially triples when considering underemployment as well as unemployment, the study stated.

The study found 72 percent of educators believe new graduates “are ready to work” and fewer than half of youth and employers believe that they are ready.

“Employers, education providers and youth live in a parallel universe,” the report stated.

Cronin said when graduates struggle to find jobs after graduation or see their peers underemployed, they might come to believe they are less qualified.

About 40 percent of educators surveyed said students most often dropped out because of the difficulty level of coursework, but less than 10 percent of students surveyed said this was the case, according to the study. Many students attributed dropping out to financial reasons.

More than half of underemployed college graduates in the U.S. do not believe their postsecondary education improved their chances in the job market, according to the study.

Cronin said the global recession that began in 2008 has contributed to the unemployment rates among college graduates.

“People are now disillusioned with higher education because it was supposed to be the ticket to making an additional million over the course of thirty or forty years,” he said. “It still is, but we’re in a dip. The chances are we’ll come out of it in the next two years, but that’s too long for people who are 23, 24 years of age who want to get a job, want to get a vehicle, want to move out of their family’s house right away.”

The need for software developers and other experts since the technology explosion, coupled with students choosing in-demand majors less frequently, might play a role in the disparity between employers and applicants, Cronin said.

“There’s a mismatch between was students would like to do with their lives — the millennium generation — and what the employers want,” he said.

The report calls for better communication between employers and professors as well as more effective skill-training systems.

College of Communication senior Ali Kuriyan said she believes her prospects for getting a job after college are high.

“I’m doing the Los Angeles program next semester, so I’m hopefully going to get a job through one of my internships,” she said. “Had I not done that, I think that would have definitely change prospect just because it’s hard to go out there and get jobs.”

Kuriyan said BU prepares students well for seeking employment after graduation.

“Even in trying to find an internship, employers have been very willing because I go to BU,” she said. “We are at an advantage opposed to other people.”

Katherine Duncan, a Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences senior, said job prospects depend on the area of work.

“If you’re going to go into the healthcare field, there will always be jobs in that,” Duncan said.

School of Management sophomore Leah Robson said her education is valuable in that it allows for networking.

“[In] SMG, the classes prepare you, more than anything else. They help you network well,” Robson said. “Even as a sophomore, I already feel that I have enough of a network that I could get a job after I graduate.”

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