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The Accenture 2013 College Graduate Employment Survey explored expectations and experiences of US college graduates from the classes of 2013, 2012 and 2011 related to education, skills, job searches, salary expectations, debt and post-graduation living arrangements.
The research suggests that many US college graduates are underemployed and working in jobs that do not require their college degrees. The research also shows that, despite their degrees, most college graduates think they need additional education or training to secure the jobs they want. Read The New Skills Imperative: Reconnecting Work with the Workforce
The Accenture 2013 College Graduate Employment Survey was conducted between March 22 and April 1, 2013. Respondents included a total of 2,015 college students: 1,010 graduating in 2013, 1,005 from the classes of 2012 and 2011. Of the students surveyed, 1,723 attended a four-year college, 269 attended a two-year junior or community college and 23 attended a vocational/technical college. Seven hundred thirty five respondents pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree, 939 pursued a Bachelor of Science degree, 150 pursued an Associate of Arts degree and 191 pursued an Associate of Science degree.
Forty one percent of workers who graduated from college in the past two years say they are underemployed and working in jobs that do not require their college degrees.
Despite their degrees, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) say they will need more training in order to get their desired job.
More than three-quarters (77 percent) of 2013 college graduates expect their first employer to provide formal training but fewer than one-half (48 percent) of 2011 and 2012 graduates surveyed say they received training in their first job after graduation.
Only 16 percent of students who will graduate in 2013 had already secured employment as of April 1, 2013.
Of the survey respondents who graduated in 2011 and 2012, 68 percent are employed full-time and 16 percent are working part time.
Only 15 percent of 2013 grads expect to earn less than $25,000 a year, while one-third (32 percent) of 2011 and 2012 graduates who are employed report their current annual salary is $25,000 or less.
Nearly one-third (30 percent) of pending 2013 graduates and 34 percent of 2011 and 2012 graduates have $30,000 or less in student loans, while 17 percent of 2013 graduates and 13 percent of 2011 and 2012 graduates have student loan debts of $30,000 to $50,000.
A third (32 percent) of pending 2013 graduates plan to live at home after graduation, while 44 percent of 2011 and 2012 college grads currently live at home.
College students come out of school with strong generalist skills but may need tailored training to develop the specialist skills companies need. Accenture recommends three strategies for hiring and developing young workers coming out of college:
Hire based on potential. Let go of the idea of finding perfect candidates who meet every skills criteria and instead invest in young people with strong generalist skills who, with some training and experience (and perhaps some job redesign), can perform in roles they might not have been matched to at first glance. Use assessments, performance analysis and skills databases to identify those young workers with strong potential.
Make training part of the total employment package. Employers cannot assume recent college graduates will arrive on the job with all the skills they need; and students want training to develop the skills they need to succeed. Employers need to provide more and better training and should use it to be an employer of choice.
Work closely with educational institutions. Develop work experience programs like internships or apprenticeships, create externships for professors and instructors, engage in curriculum development, and create customized training and industry credential programs. These will help develop a fresh crop of talent that is better suited to your organization’s needs, and lead to better matching of students to jobs.
April 29, 2013
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