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Are They Really Ready to Work?

April 22, 2007
Given the urgent need to find skilled professionals, The Conference Board, Corporate Voices for Working Families, The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and the Society for Human Resource Management conducted a survey, "Are They Really Ready to Work? Employers’ Perspectives on the Basic Knowledge and Applied Skills of New Entrants to the 21st Century U.S. Workforce", to gain a better understanding of the readiness of new entrants to the workforce.

If excellence is necessary for America to continue to effectively compete in the global economy, then there is much work to be done in preparing the next generation of professionals to enter the workplace.

Less than a quarter of employers – only 23.9 percent– report that new entrants with four-year college degrees have “excellent” basic knowledge and applied skills, and important deficiencies exist among entrants at every level. The deficiencies are greatest at the high school level, with 42.4 percent of employers reporting the overall preparation of high school graduates as deficient; 80.9 percent reporting deficiencies in written communications; 70.3 percent citing deficiencies in professionalism; and 69.6 percent reporting deficiencies in critical thinking. Although preparedness increases with educational level, employers noted significant deficiencies remaining at the four-year college level in written communication (27.8 percent), leadership (23.8 percent) and professionalism (18.6 percent).