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Report: Which Employability Skills Are Students Missing?

June 10, 2020
 
 

Two new reports highlight the gaps in employability skills among college graduates.

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities surveyed stakeholders across 31 universities on the importance of certain skills and how prepared students are in those skills, as well as how to better prepare students in those areas, according to the executive summary for the reports.

The report identifies 11 key skills gaps among graduates out of the total 42 skills offered in the survey. The skills include dealing with conflict constructively, building professional relationships and understanding workplace roles, among others.

The survey also shows there is a disconnect in the priorities for employers and faculty members. Employers listed understanding the role and expectations in the workplace as the largest preparedness gap, while faculty placed that gap at nine of 11. The third-largest gap for employers is accepting critique and direction in the workplace, while faculty placed that as 10 of 11.

To close these preparedness gaps, stakeholders recommended that colleges teach students about a few things. The first is conflict, by allowing students to practice opening conversations and breaking the conflict taboo. The second is persistence, by helping students understand that failure is an opportunity to grow. Next is change, by teaching students to accept that this is the norm and teaching them how to adapt. Last is ambiguity, by teaching students it is a part of life and that they find direction by listening, asking questions and thinking creatively.

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