Skills Gap: Do Students Graduate Ready for the Workforce?

Skills Gap: Do Students Graduate Ready for the Workforce?

Do students graduate college ready for the workforce?

The answer depends who you talk to.

A difference in opinion
According to a new Gallup poll, 11 percent of business leaders indicated that college graduates have the skills they need in the workplace. That leaves a whopping 89 percent who feel there’s a divide between what students learn in college and what employers need out of employees.

But a different Gallup poll indicated recently that 96 percent of academic leaders consider their college education prepares students for the workforce.

Reasons for the divide
So why is there a difference between the perceptions of each side of this perceived gap?

According to The Huffington Post, the skills gap extends from hard skills, such as producing physical items, interpreting or applying information, or other trade skills, to soft skills, or the abilities to work with others, negotiate and settle conflicts and disputes.

“I’ve had conversation after conversation with leaders in manufacturing, healthcare, insurance, government, retail and other industries, and the song remains the same,” writes Julian L. Allsid, chief workforce strategist at College for America. “The skills sets that matter across all of these sectors are too often missing from their entry level employees, whether they have degrees or not.”

What’s next?
What could either clear up this perception, or close the gap? The Gallup business leader’s poll indicated that as many as 88 percent of business leaders were interested in more collaboration with higher education institutions. So while it’s not an answer, it’s at least a place to start.

Will academic leaders welcome this type of collaboration? Do you think there’s a skills gap between the skills students graduate with and what employers expect out of them? Tell us in the comments. 



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