Employers want their employees to use a broader set of skills and have higher levels of learning and knowledge than in the past to meet the increasingly complex demands they will face in the workplace. Within this context, to the degree that employers’ emphasis on hiring will be affected by the economic downturn, the shift will be toward greater emphasis on hiring four-year college graduates.
Only one in four employers thinks that two-year and four-year colleges are doing a good job in preparing students for the challenges of the global economy. A majority of respondents think that both two- and four-year colleges need to make at least some improvements to prepare students for the global economy, including one in five who thinks that significant changes are needed.
Employers endorse learning outcomes for college graduates that are developed through a blend of liberal and applied learning.
The areas in which employers feel that colleges most need to increase their focus include
- written and oral communication,
- critical thinking and analytical reasoning,
- the application of knowledge and skills in real-world settings,
- complex problem-solving and analysis,
- ethical decision-making,
- teamwork skills,
- innovation and creativity, and
- concepts and developments in science and technology.