Why some college grads aren’t employable

Some college graduates aren’t prepared for work, recruiters tell Jeff Selingo. The top students at nearly any college and most students at top colleges are worth interviewing. But a surprising number of applicants “clearly were not ready to go to college in the first place, yet possess a degree.”

“The focus on access and completion has come at a real cost,” one recruiter told me (he didn’t want his company identified because he’s not allowed to speak on its behalf). “We’re encouraging students to go to college who should be considering other options, and then we’re pushing them through once there.”

In the past, college graduates have fared much better than less-educated workers. That may change for average graduates of average colleges with not-very-rigorous degrees. And that’s a large group.

Many graduates write poorly. “It’s clear they’re not learning basic grammar, usage, and style in K-12,” recruiters say.

While many graduates are hard workers, others skated by in college.

The recruiters complained about professors who clearly gave grades that were not deserved, allowed assignments to be skipped, and simply didn’t demand much from their students.

In addition, many young workers feel entitled to a job, recruiters say. They blame “parents obsessed with their kids’ happiness.”

Many employers have cut training and mentoring to save money, the recruiters admit. Employers want to hire well-educated people who are ready to work with minimal support.


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