Survey: Only 44% of College Students Feel “Very prepared” for Careers

Photo:   John Walker

Photo: John Walker

In a time when robots are taking over the workplace and expanding their skills moving up the corporate ladder, a great number of college students don't feel fully prepared for their professional careers, according to a new research from McGraw-Hill Education. 

The 2017 Future Workforce Survey provides a picture of how prepared students feel about entering the workforce and the hopes and concerns students have about their post-graduation lives.

The survey of 5,354 current college and university students found that only 44 percent of college seniors feel “very prepared” for their careers while 83 percent reported feeling “moderately prepared” with interpersonal skills like communication, teamwork and critical thinking. 

According to the survey, most students are optimistic about their futures and the value of their college experiences. Some key findings of the report are:

  • Fewer than half of students surveyed feel very or extremely prepared for their professional career.
  • A vast majority of students (83 percent) believe their major will help them find a job, and plan on getting a job in the field they majored in. 
  • Three-quarters of students have identified a career they want to pursue prioritising jobs in their field over jobs with the greatest financial payout.
  • Students  (42 percent) prioritise living well-rounded / happy lives and rewarding jobs over social responsible (30 percent) and well-paying jobs (7 percent).
  • Job fairs, career advisors, and resume support are the most commonly available    career resources for students. However, a majority of students have never used or only rarely use any available resource. Students who do use career resources tend to use them in-person rather than online.
  • In general, students are satisfied with their college experience. Students believed that their college experience would increase their employment opportunities, give them a good education, and provide them with the resources that would set them up for future success.
  • Students are slightly more optimistic about their post-graduate lives overall compared to their post-graduate careers.

One interesting finding is that when asked which factors would make them feel most fulfilled in their careers, students’ top three answers were: a good work/life balance, followed by attractive salary and benefits, and opportunities to learn and grow as a professional.

The full report and a summary of results are available on the McGraw-Hill Education website (registration required).