With a new degree in hand, soon-to-be-graduates might think they're ready to hit the ground running, but their soon-to-be employers aren't so sure. In fact, a high percentage of employers are worried that graduates aren't coming to the workforce with the right skills at all.
For example, 60 per cent of managers believe critical thinking/problem solving skills are lacking, 56 per cent worry about graduate's attention to detail and 46 per cent fear communication skills aren't strong enough, reports a 2016 PayScale survey*.
Why do both parties have such a difference in opinion?
There's certainly a number of things at play here, however, we can begin by looking at the training gap between these two generations. Namely, the older generation was given more latitude to grow into its early-career jobs, to develop the required skills over time.
The hiring process ain't what it used to be
Today's hiring managers can no longer offer the luxury they were granted, of giving new graduates time to ease into a role and career. The once clear path leading from graduation to early career work and the development of critical skills (possibly followed by a return to school for an MBA and leap into management), is not what it was.
Instead, businesspeople like Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, liken the process to a jungle gym. In her book "Lean In" she writes that, "I could never have connected the dots from where I started to where I am today". With a career that took her from the World Bank and McKinsey to the U.S. Treasury and now Facebook, it's clear a straight ladder isn't an apt metaphor for her path. This is true, today, of many others' careers too.
Today, the business world is less like a ladder and more like a jungle gym.
Today's jungle gym hiring process
In Australia, nearly 100 per cent of businesses are small or medium sized businesses (SMEs) with 200 employees or less, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics*. That means they don't have the time (or budget) to adequately train the graduates they hire, leaving them hesitant to bring on recent graduates. Even if those grads have been able to skill themselves up via the jungle gym (through internships, careers programs, part-time work and volunteering), they haven't yet acquired the skills equal to someone who has been in the working world for a couple of years. Hence the common precaution of requiring two to three years of experience for an entry-level job.
However, this way of thinking can be a missed opportunity for employers. Graduates have a lot to offer any size of business, especially in terms of their ability and motivation to upskill themselves.
Graduates have a lot to offer any size business.
The benefits of hiring graduates
A recent graduate is an opportunity to bring in fresh perspective. While SMEs might not have the time or resource to train newcomers, you have to remember that because they are fresh out of school, they still have that 'learning attitude' – meaning they're still willing to learn and put in the long hours to upskill themselves. They have access to a myriad of quality training resources to back it up and with no bad habits, they are easier to mould into your star employee.
Of course, finding an applicant that will mesh with your culture as well as the skills you require can be time consuming, so we want to help. Monash Talent specialises in placing Monash University graduates with employers, ensuring we only find the best-fit candidate for you. To learn more about our recruiting process, reach out to our team today.
*PayScale (2016). Levelling Up: How to Win In the Skills Economy.
*Australian Bureau of Statistics (2017). Counts of Australian Businesses, including Entries and Exits, Jun 2013 to Jun 2017.