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Business leaders bemoan new grads’ work ethic

Business leaders bemoan new grads’ work ethic

Higher Ed Dive

Laurel Kalser, Contributor
August 18, 2023
Dive Brief:
  • Four in 10 business leaders believe recent college grads (classes of 2020-2023) are unprepared to enter the workplace, according to survey results from research firm and survey platform Pollfish.
  • Almost three-quarters of the more than 1,200 C-suite execs, business owners, HR and other senior managers surveyed pointed to work ethic and communication skills as reasons why recent grads aren’t prepared for the workforce. About two-thirds blamed culture; 88% said a college course on office ethics would help.
  • “Actually, nobody is prepared for the workplace of 2023,” Diana Gayeski, strategic communications professor at Ithaca College and principal of Gayeski Analytics, emphasized in an Aug. 7 press release announcing the findings. “Recent college grads don’t communicate in the way that their 50-year-old executives do, but they are effective in collaborating and getting things done using their own tools of social media, texting and applications like Slack and Google Docs.”
Dive Insight:
Having spent two years on “Zoom school” instead of physically in classes, clubs and dorms, many new grads missed out on the typical college opportunities for developing people skills and confidence, Gayeski said.
These workforce newcomers are fully aware of the shortcoming. In a survey released earlier this year, a group of soon-to-be college grads said the pandemic worsened their mental health and this had a negative effect on their workforce readiness.
Recent grads and business leaders share concerns around one area: The impact of generative AI on the workplace. About half of the 1,000 people who graduated in the past year felt threatened by the emerging technology, according to one survey. Hiring managers who responded to the survey agreed that many workers will have to learn new skills to keep up.
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