College degrees no longer enough to get the job

Lauren Williams's picture
Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Chegg, The Student Hub, has announced the results of a national study that examines the intersection of higher education and workforce preparedness to compare student and employer expectations for success after graduation. The survey uncovers the root of the "skills gap" and the significant disconnect between what hiring managers value and what students believe to be important to land a job in a chosen field. The results detail the "Student Skill Index" – or the measure of this disconnect over specific skills.

"Today's student is plugged in and ready to learn, yet they are graduating into an economy that requires more than a traditional degree," said Dan Rosensweig, President and CEO of Chegg. "This is an opportunity – not to mention a responsibility – for educational institutions to add to what they are teaching, to focus more on outcomes, and for businesses to take the lead by investing in training and mentoring programs for young employees and working with our local universities and colleges to develop the entry-level skills so critical to workplace success."

The study was commissioned by Chegg and conducted online with two surveys by Harris Interactive® in August 2013. A student-focused survey was conducted among 2,001 US residents age 18-24 who are enrolled in a 2-or 4-year public or private college. An employer-focused survey was conducted among 1,000 hiring managers.

Student Skill Index

Students and hiring managers place emphasis on different skills they believe are needed, and as a result students miss the opportunity to focus on skills the workforce is looking for: fewer than two in five hiring managers say the recent college graduates they have interviewed in the past two years were completely or very prepared for a job in their field of study. The differences are particularly wide in terms of prioritizing work (50% of hiring managers vs. 77% of students who believe they're very or extremely prepared), organizational skills (54% of hiring managers vs. 79% of students) and leading a group toward a common goal (42% of hiring managers vs. 68% of students).

To help employers, universities and students better understand where the skills gap exists, Chegg is publishing the "Bridge That Gap" report. It takes a deeper look at the study results and data, giving educators and employers an overview of the important differences, and presents solutions to help create a successful generation of graduates.

Overall, the report highlights important areas that must be addressed in order to close the gap between student skills and employer needs. Key takeaways highlight that students haven't mastered the business basics hiring managers value, nor do they come equipped with "office street smarts" and need help learning the rules.

Additionally, Chegg is publishing a new resource site today on Chegg.com, "Chegg Pulse," which includes the "Bridge That Gap" report as well as content created specifically for students.

These resources include exclusive guides to career success for students in four levels: "beginner," "intermediate," "advanced" and "almost hired." Working with The Muse, the "Chegg Pulse" resources also feature exclusive videos from hiring managers and senior human resource leaders discussing how to stand out as an applicant, common interview mistakes and the skills they look for in candidates. All resources can be found at www.chegg.com/pulse.

Reaching approximately 30 percent of all college students and approximately 40 percent of all college-bound high school seniors, Chegg is focused on providing students with the tools to help them be successful from the time they begin their college applications through graduation and as they search for the right job. Survey Methodology:

Student survey: This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Chegg Inc. between July 29 and August 9, 2013 among 2,001 US residents age 18-24 who are enrolled in a 2- or 4-year public or private college. Figures for sex, region and institution type were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Aparna Aswani at chegg@sutherlandgold.com. Hiring Manager survey: This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Chegg Inc. between August 7-14, 2013 in the United States among 1,000 hiring managers, defined as full-time employees at a company with at least 2 employees and who work in their organizations' human resources department or a position in which they have a significant influence in hiring decisions; in addition, they have hired a recent college graduate in the past 2 years and are at least somewhat likely to do so again in the next 12 months. Figures for company size were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Victoria Krammen at chegg@sutherlandgold.com.

About Chegg:

Chegg, The Student Hub, is transforming the way millions of students learn by connecting them to the people and tools needed to succeed in college through homework help, course selection, eTextbook and textbook options as well as school and scholarship connections. Students nationwide use Chegg 365 days a year to make learning easier, more accessible and more productive. As a part of the company's philanthropic efforts, Chegg is dedicated to its Chegg For Good program, which empowers students to be a catalyst for change on their campus, in their communities and around the world. From starting as a textbook rental company to evolving into the student hub, Chegg is enhancing education for millions of students by saving them time, saving them money and helping them get smarter.

For more information, visit www.chegg.com.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for The Harris Poll®, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research across a wide range of industries. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing a client's research investment. Serving clients worldwide through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help our clients stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.