October 9 2007 - A survey commissioned in metropolitan Atlanta by American InterContinental University (AIU) has found that local employers believe today's job seekers are better equipped for productive employment than their equivalents in the past.
AIU commissioned the online survey of 250 employers/managers involved in the hiring process in large and small companies (under 50 to over 5000 employees) to find out what employers think about the educational benefits that job candidates are bringing with them. AIU chose Metro Atlanta for the survey because of its 'explosive growth and diverse demographics'.
In general, the surveyed employers considered that their new hires had educational experiences that would help them to contribute rapidly to the organization. But there were also some unexpected findings:
- 90 per cent of respondents were satisfied with the level and quality of education among new employees.
- 91 per cent of employers/managers felt their new hires could immediately make a significant contribution to the organization.
- A third of respondents believed new hires to be better qualified today than candidates from five years ago - conclusion some people might find surprising.
- 'Responsibility' and 'communication' skills were rated highly among desirable attributes in new hires but being a 'team player' came well down down the list. Partly, this might be due to the fact that respondents tended to feel that this quality was already displayed in abundance by new employees.
- Most hiring managers wanted to to see more job candidates with a bachelor degree and three out of four felt that additional external skills training and certificate classes were needed - a matter of interest to America's colleges and universities.
- Three out of four employers encouraged current employees to engage in outside training but far fewer offered financial assistance for continuing education to the same workers.
According to Dr. George Miller, CEO of American InterContinental University, the perception of high quality among job seekers and new employees might be due to the wide range of higher education opportunities in the metro Atlanta area. For example, AIU has two campuses in the area and also offers online access to a variety of degree-track educational opportunities.
Dr. Miller said:
"One concern of mine is the ability of colleges and universities to keep pace with the ever-changing needs of industry. The American business community can change at warp speed, especially in a high-growth region. Fortunately for our students, and for the companies that employ our graduates, AIU makes use of industry advisory groups to help us keep pace with, and continuously fine tune our academic offerings to, the constantly-evolving needs of employers."
He added: "It also concerns me that, while many employers indicate that they would like to see more education and training opportunities for current employees, a relatively small percentage of employers contribute financially to continuing education. This shortfall in employer funding assistance seems to be most true in relation to online education - which is the growth area in higher education circles. This disconnect could, in the long run, lead to a downturn in the very opportunities that employers indicate they want to see for employees. To offset some of the disconnect between higher education and the world of business, I would like to see more cooperation between academia and corporate America. This might well be America's next great challenge in a global world."