Marketplace teamed up with The Chronicle of Higher Education to find out what exactly employers are looking for in today's college grads. On the one hand, no surprise -- they want bright, shiny degrees. Even in industries like manufacturing and retail, a four-year degree is increasingly seen as a must. But what really gets employers' bacon sizzling is work experience. And particularly, internships. Plus, the survey showed that the credential that really stands out in resumes of recent college graduates is an internship, followed closely by work experience of some kind.
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Some degree programs do require an internship or some form of experiential learning -- such as in journalism or health sciences -- but often it's up to students to get one. And grads who don't intern while at college can find it difficult to land an internship after graduating or even afford one for no pay or little money. In addition, studies show more and more job listings require a degree for work.
But even though more employers are demanding a degree, they're also saying colleges aren't doing a good enough job. What do they really want?
For instance, 31% of employers in the survey said colleges were doing a 'fair' to 'poor' job preparing what they called 'successful employees,' a sizeable minority. They said job candidates were most lacking in things like writing and communication skills, adaptability, making decisions, and problem solving. They said it's the colleges' job to teach these things. But some might argue that employers need to be doing more training on their own, especially in entry-level jobs. Nearly a third of employers in the survey told us that grads are unprepared or even very unprepared for the job search.
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