Study shows college students feel unqualified once they get a job

College students feel unqualified once they get a job

Study shows only about a third of current students express confidence that they will graduate with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in their first job.

Almost every college student jumps on a new learning journey with a positive attitude, and the intent to acquire enough knowledge and experience to succeed in the world. The reality is that most of them feel powerless and unprepared once they leave college. A recent Gallup study shows only about a third of current students express confidence that they will graduate with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in their first job.

How confident are students that they are being prepared to succeed at work? What role does the career they choose play in these evaluations? In addition, how do students use and value the university resources that are designed to help them explore career options? A survey conducted by Gallup and Strada Education Network, to almost 33,000 students from 43 US institutions, answered some of these questions. The students' responses were discouraging.

college student feels unqualified once they get a job

Key findings                                     

  • Although almost 70 % of students feel uncertain that they will graduate with the skills they need to be successful in their first job, 53% believe their major will lead to a good job.
  • Students pursuing public service degrees, such as education or social work, show the highest confidence they will graduate with the skills needed for successful workforce outcomes.
  • STEM majors express the most confidence that their chosen field of study will lead to a good job.
  • Students who often speak with faculty or staff about their career options express significantly more confidence in their preparation for the workforce than those who feel they don’t have school support.
  • Almost 40 % have never visited their school’s career services office.
  • Only 30% say academic advisers are very helpful in identifying career options.

Ironically, 96% of chief academic officers of colleges and universities believe that their institutions are effectively preparing students to join the workforce, but only 11% of business leaders agree.

Then, how can universities prepare graduates to succeed in the workforce? Gallup experts suggest that universities should encourage faculty and staff to initiate conversations with students about potential career options. Correspondingly, they need to impulse students to seek out help from educators.