3 Reasons Employers Aren't Hiring Recent College Grads

The unemployment rate for the youngest members of the workforce is significantly higher than the general population -- 14.8 percent, in fact, as of November, 2013, according to the Center for American Progress, compared to the 7 percent or so we've been seeing for the general population. All indications are that Millennial workers are not recovering from the Great Recession at the same rate as other age groups. But why?

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(Photo Credit: Stuart Miles/freedigitalphotos.net)

1. Millennials have a branding problem.

A recent survey from Bentley University found that employers don't feel that recent college graduates are prepared to work, easy to manage, or have sufficient hard and soft skills to be a success. Whether or not that's true, the fact that employers think it's true represents an obstacle for younger workers who are looking for work.

2. Businesses aren't clear on what they want.

"While roughly two thirds of business leaders and recruiters say that 'hard' technical skills and 'soft' skills are equally important, a majority say they'd prefer to hire a recent graduate with industry-specific skills than a liberal arts graduate who needs to be trained first," writes Eric Pianin at CNBC.

In other words, companies say they're looking for one thing, when they're really looking for another. No wonder, then, that younger workers have trouble fulfilling employers' expectations.

3. Recent graduates genuinely are underprepared.

Being "prepared to work," in the context of this survey isn't just passion for the job and a good work ethic. It's also knowing how to function in an office environment, something the survey takers say recent college grads don't know how to do. That's always been the case, throughout history -- all of us were once clueless workers who didn't understand how to get a read on corporate culture, and we learned.

The difference today is that employers are impatient. (See previous re: wanting workers who don't need to be trained to do their jobs.) The solution? Schools might need to do a better job of preparing students for life in the work world, as well as teaching them the hard skills they need to get the job done.

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2 Comments

  1. 2 Kim 21 Mar
    So employers are asked why they aren't employing millenials and they give these reasons. But is that really what the statistic is caused by? Maybe with such high unemployment (all over the world) employers are simply spoilt for choice. After all, if an employer is really hiring the most suitable person for the job someone with relevant experience and proven performance is going to be the chosen candidate. Also with the availability of experienced people there is no need to create as many entry level positions. I seem to remember there was a very similar situation in the early 2000s in my country, with a similar debate over why things were tough for young people. There are many things that can be done by an individual but the only solution for all is going to be an improvement in the economy.
  2. 1 Mary Wilkins 10 Mar

    Grads from a technical school or a specific major that relates to the business may be more favored in that they might have "more of a clue" but I think a big reason is the expectation of starting above entry level. The non-traditional student (ie: mature) may find a position faster for the perceived experience.

    Lately, I have been interviewing applicants that have never worked (at all!) and I have been telling them to go find a job in retail or fast-food to give them work experience. I do not have time to train someone how to work. I need them to be able to "work" from day one! Of course, all new staff get orientation and job specific training, but how to arrive on time and be ready for work seems to be a lacking concept for many. Put away the electronic devices unless the employer needs them to be used on the job (not likely!)

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