AACU Employer Surveys

By Hart Research Associates

2015 Employer & College Student Survey, data highlights: 

  • n = 400 executives from profit & non-profit organizations
  • n = 613 college students (455 four-year college seniors & 158 community college associates degree)

Employers: 

*student perspectives data in brackets

  • Learning Authenticity (real-world applications)
    • 88% important that all students have the skills & knowledge to complete an applied learning project
    • 73% important that all students complete a significant applied learning project to improve their career preparation
    • Most would prioritize a job candidate who has participated in: 
      • 94% an internship (95%)
      • 87% senior project/thesis (89%)
      • 81% multiple courses involving significant writing (76%)
      • 80% collaborative research project (82%)
      • 69% a community-based project (85%)
      • 66% field-based project in a diverse community setting (87%)
      • 51% study abroad program (71%)
  • Knowledge & Skills
    • 60% stated having both field specific knowledge & skills along with a broad range of skills & knowledge is more important for recent college graduates (63%)
    • 15% stated having specific career knowledge & skills is more important (15%)
  • Agree/strongly agree that all students should:
    • 96% have educational experiences that teach them to solve problems with people whose views are different from their own (94%)
    • 87% gain an understanding of democratic institutions & values (85%)
    • 86% take courses that build civic knowledge, skills & judgment essential for contributing to a democratic society (86%)
    • 78% acquire a broad knowledge in liberal arts & sciences (83%)
    • 78% gain intercultural skills & an understanding of societies & countries outside of the US (87%)

Learning Outcomes Rated Very Important by Employers:

  • 85% effective oral communication
  • 83% work effectively with others in teams
  • 82% effective written communication
  • 81% ethical judgment & decision-making
  • 81% critical thinking & analytical reasoning skills
  • 80% knowledge & skill application in real-world settings
  • 70% analyze & solve complex problems
  • 68% locating, organizing & evaluating information from multiple sources
  • 65% creativity & innovation 
  • 60% stay current with changing technologies & workplace applications

Other Significant Data:

  • 80% state E-Portfolios are very or fairly useful in evaluating applicants
    • 45% college transcripts are very or fairly useful in evaluating applicants
  • There is a significant difference between Employers & Students in regard to preparedness across learning outcomes

Workplace preparedness graphic (AACU, 2015)

AACU Employer Graphic

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2013 Employer Survey, data highlights

n = 318 executives from profit & non-profit organizations

Employers:

  • 95% prioritize individuals with intellectual & interpersonal skills for workplace innovation
  • 93% believe critical thinking, clear communication & the ability to solve complex problems are more important than undergraduate degree
  • 92% identify innovation as critical to their organization's continued success
  • 55% stated having both field specific knowledge & skills along with a broad range of skills & knowledge is more important for recent college graduates
    • 16% stated having specific career knowledge & skills

More emphasis needed on:

  • 82% critical thinking skills
  • 81% complex problem solving & analysis
  • 80% written & oral communication
  • 78% knowledge & skill application in real-world settings
  • 72% locating, organizing & evaluating information from multiple sources
  • 71% creativity & innovation
  • 67% teamwork & collaboration

Potential of different approaches to learning to help students succeed:

  • 83% expecting students to develop the skills to research questions in their field & develop evidence-based analyses 
  • 79% expecting students to complete a significant project before graduation that demonstrates their depth of knowledge in their major AND their acquisition of analytical, problem-solving, and communication skills
  • 74% expecting students to develop the skills to conduct research collaboratively with their peers
  • 59% using new approaches that deemphasize lectures in the classroom and instead have students listen to lectures online & devote classroom time to dialogue, debate, & problem solving in groups or alone, & with guidance from the instructor
  • 83% state E-Portfolios are very or fairly useful in evaluating applicants
  • 90% important that those they hire demonstrate ethical judgment and integrity; intercultural skills; & the
    capacity for continued new learning
  • 94% state it is fairly or very important to have a liberal education

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