This report details the disconnect between managers and recent graduates regarding their preparedness for employment after entering the workforce, and which skills managers are most likely to consider absent or deficient. It also details which skills are most likely to result in a larger salary, which skills are most likely to result in a promotion, which skills are least valuable (best to leave off your resume), and which skills are most common by geographic region of the United States.
Recent Grad Preparedness:
- Overall, the majority of workers (87%) feel well prepared (immediately or within 3 months) for their job upon graduation from college. In contrast, only about half of managers (50%) feel that employees who recently graduated from college are well prepared for the workforce. This reveals a significant gap in perception between managers and workers.
Preparedness by Generation:
- A higher percentage of managers who are Millennials (55%) feel that recent college graduates are well-prepared compared to managers from older generations (47% Gen X, 48% Baby Boomers).
- Overall, 44% of managers feel writing proficiency is the hard skill lacking the most among recent college graduates. Public speaking follows behind with 39% of managers feeling this way.
- Overall, 60% of managers feel critical thinking/problem solving is the soft skill lacking the most among recent college graduates. The soft skills attention to detail (56%) and communication (46%) closely follow.
Skills to Make More Money:
- Overall, Scala is the skill that will get you the biggest pay boost (22.2%), followed by Cisco UCCE/IPCC (21.1%) and Go (20.0%).
a. Both Scala and Go are considered to be emerging skills – skills that have become high in demand in the past 5 years. They're also, notably, STEM skills, an indicator that highly skilled STEM employees are in demand, and STEM jobs consequently command higher salaries.
- Other notable skills help you make more money are Mergers and Acquisitions (17.2%), Splunk (14.3%), and Hadoop (12.5%).
Best Emerging Skills:
- Scala and Go are the emerging skills with the biggest pay boosts (22.2% and 20.0% respectively), but some other notable emerging skills are Hadoop (12.5%), iOS SDK (11.4%), and Groovy (6.2%).
Best Skills to Get a Promotion:
- The most common skills held by workers at the Executive Level are Business Management (21.8 relative commonness), IT Management (20.3), and Profit & Loss (P&L) Statements (16.8).
- The most common skills held by workers at the Director Level are Donor Relations (20.2 relative commonness), Software Development, Management (13.9), and Senior Financial Management (12.0).
- The most common skills held by workers at the Manager or Supervisor Level are Training Management (3.1 relative commonness), Property Management (3.0), and Event Management (2.7).
Best Skills to Leave off Your Resume:
- The "Best Skill to Leave off Your Resume" are considered "foundational skills," meaning they are frequently listed as skills by employees within each industry represented. If an employee or job seeker lists these foundational skills among his or her top skills, he or she is likely to earn significantly less than peers with more impressive skills listed on their resume.
Top Common Skills by Region:
- In the East North Central census region, the most relatively common skills are related to manufacturing and machinery. NX Unigraphics (3.23), plastic molding (2.42), and CATIA (2.01) are relatively common among workers in this region.
- In the East South Central census region, many of the relatively common skills are health-care related. International Statistical Classifications of Diseases - 10 (ICD-10) coding (1.97), urology (1.95), and Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) coding (1.89) make the list.
- In the Pacific census region, the most relatively common skills tend to be tech-related. Algorithm development (3.38), pedodontics (3.32), and verilog (3.29) top the list.
- In the South Atlantic census region, many of the relatively common skills are associated with the government and intelligence-gathering. Signals intelligence (SIGINT) (3.21), Human intelligence (HUMINT) (3.15), and Geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) (3.03) top the list. In addition, lobbying (2.35), legislative policy (2.22), and policy analysis (2.17) are relatively common in this region.
- In the West South Central census region, many of the most relatively common skills are related to extracting and processing natural resources. Reservoir engineering (6.59), drilling engineering (6.08), and well production engineering (5.58) top the list in this region.
Overall skills data for this report was collected between March 2014 and March 2016 from U.S. workers who completed the PayScale employee compensation survey: 2,010,000 workers
For the workplace preparedness and skills gap data, we surveyed managers and recent college graduates in the U.S. in early 2016 who completed the PayScale employee compensation survey.
Recent graduates: 14,167
Managers: Respondents who directly supervise people.
Workers: Respondents who do not directly supervise people and have at least a bachelor's degree.
% Prepared (Workers): This is the percentage of worker respondents who answered "Extremely" or "Mostly" when asked, "How prepared did you feel for your day-to-day job responsibilities after graduating college?"
% Prepared (Managers): This is the percentage of manager respondents who answered "Extremely" or "Mostly" when asked, "How well-prepared are recent college graduates who work for you based on their college education?"
"The Gap": This is the difference between % Prepared (Workers) and the % Prepared (Managers).
• Millenials: People who were born between 1982 and 2002.
• Generation X: People who were born between 1965 and 1981.
• Baby Boomers: People who were born between 1946 and 1964.
Relative Commonness: This is the relative commonness for workers in the given job level compared to all U.S. workers. For example, the relative commonness for the skill "Donor Relations" among "Directors" is 20.2, therefore, it is 20.2 times as likely for a worker at the "Director" level to have "Donor Relations" as a skill than the average U.S. worker.
• Executive Level: Workers with a Chief Executive title (CEO, CFO, etc.) or a title with a comparable level or responsibility, years of experience, and management scope.
• Director Level: Workers with a Director title or a title with a comparable level or responsibility, years of experience, and management scope.
• Manager or Supervisor Level: Workers who supervise people and do not have a higher level title.
• Individual Contributor Level: Workers who do not supervise people and do not have a higher level title.
Calculated Pay Boost in Dollars: This represents what the average pay boost would look like in terms of dollars for a worker earning the median pay.
Pay Boost: Using a methodology similar to The PayScale Index (http://www.payscale.com/payscale-index/compensation-trends-methodology), we measure the change in wages for the given skill, all else equal.
Best Skills to Make More Money: The skills with the highest average pay boost.
Best Skills by Job: The skills with the highest average pay boost across major job groups.
Best Emerging Skills: Emerging skills, or skills that have become reasonably in demand for the last 5 years, that give the highest average pay boost.
Best “Skills" to Leave OFF Your Resume: Skills in major job groups that give the lowest average pay boost.
Relative Commonness by Census Region: This is the relative commonness for workers in a particular census region compared to all U.S. workers. For example, the relative commonness for computed tomography (CT) skills in the East South Central census region is 1.83, therefore, it is 1.83 times more likely for a worker in the East South Central census region to have computed tomography (CT) skills than the average U.S. worker.
U.S. Census Regions: This is the census region the respondent works based on U.S. Census Bureau Census Regions and Divisions of the United States (http://www.census.gov/geo/maps-data/maps/pdfs/reference/us_regdiv.pdf).
Return to Job Skills