Survey exposes new college graduates' lack of work ethic

Lauren Williams's picture

Some may say the American work ethic has never been so low. In the last decade, the shift from "disciplined" to "entitled" is apparent to many managers. Designed Learning, home of the Flawless Consulting® workshops, today announced the results of a survey of 2500 human resource professionals. The survey asked participants to evaluate the performance of today's college graduates compared to college graduates ten years ago.

The survey, titled "The New New-Hire", reflects the changing attitudes and work-ethics of Millenniums. For example, today's college graduates are placing more importance on work life/personal life balance than workers were ten years ago. With this in mind, many skills possessed by yesterday's college graduates are lacking in today's new hires.

The survey revealed that 61 percent of HR professionals believe today's grads are unprepared for the workplace. According to respondents, compared to ten years ago, young people are also underprepared for the workplace and less accountable for their work.

Respondents also said today's college graduates are:

"Entitled & expecting to walk into leadership";

"Less socially tactful, flexible in face-to-face interactions";

"Less tolerant of cultural norms, less likely to make long-term investment in one company";

"Focused on flexible work schedules/perks" and

"Less willing to adapt to a company culture, individualism reigns".

This decade of change is two-sided, though. Many human resource professionals warn management to avoid underestimating the expertise of their Millenniums. 45 percent of survey respondents say today's college graduates are better collaborators and team builders.

Respondents also said they are:

"More likely to take risk in order to get into leadership roles";

"Not prepared for the workplace as it exists, but more prepared for what it is becoming";

"Better able to use social media for business relationships" and

"More likely to be satisfied with a career involving numerous employers".

"What this says about accountability," states Bill Brewer, Designed Learning's director of client relations, "is that when training new college graduates, improving accountability and stewardship to the greater organization has the utmost importance. Retention efforts should shift from coercion to creating a willingness to serve."

The data were collected through an online survey of 2500 HR professionals over a four-week period, June 5, 2013-July 5, 2013. The full data results are available, here.

Peter Block's Designed Learning has worked with thousands of companies to create an environment of innovation and engagement around the globe. Designed Learning advocates internal consulting skills that focus on creating a culture of chosen accountability and commitment. Over 1 million people have benefited from their offerings including Peter Block's Flawless Consulting®; HR, Management, Healthcare and IT consulting skills training; as well as virtual and public workshops for staff professionals looking to create a future distinct from the past.