A College Graduate’s Worst Nightmare

C.E.O’s and business executives are turning their backs to the recent college graduates claiming that they are under qualified. Link to NYTimes Article “How to Bridge the Hiring Gap”

In the business world today, college graduates are frightful to enter the workforce because they are convinced that their knowledge and degree will never land them a job good enough to pay off their tuition debt. As of late, executives who are looking to hire this bright new knowledge are claiming that they are unable to find applicants who are qualified for the position they seek. When one tries to uncover this paradox of linking those who need work to those who need workers, one will find that there is a divide that is weakening the success of both aspects.

An Economics graduate from the University of North Carolina stated that although they graduated with a 3.6 G.P.A and degree for a major that was high in demand, they believe that the bashing of their generation will never end causing employers to believe that they will never be able to add value to the company. Looking from a different perspective, a large majority of C.E.Os of companies are backing up their hiring decisions in regards to recent graduates by stating that these recent graduates lack the skills and discipline required in the workplace. A main cause of this is that young employees come into a new job believing that they are automatically entitled to a promotion before mastering the assigned tasks for the position in which they started. Executives are trying to encourage young hires that rotating through departments and letting the managers monitor their progress step by step will let them prove their abilities. Managers, executives, and CEOs who are hiring are warning recent college graduates that training programs will only recruit applicants will immediately applicable skills due to the fact that they no longer have time to hire bench strength.

The dilemma of hiring new college graduates proves that  management operations is changing up the game. The basic management functions of planning, organizing, staffing, leading, and controlling will no longer apply to the recent college graduates unless they are truly ready to work from the bottom to the top. If we go by the textbook, staffing is performed effectively by following proper recruitment procedures and then selecting the candidate that is most qualified in meeting all the job requirements. The major ethical decision I contemplated while reading this article is whether this treatment is fair for the recent college graduates. If one is over-qualified for an entry position within a company should they be forced to rotate through departments being encouraged by employers to learn knowledge in which they have already acquired?


13 thoughts on “A College Graduate’s Worst Nightmare

  1. Interesting article. I find that there are a few aspects of this article that can be argued. For example, when one is entering the labor force there is not such thing as “knowledge..already acquired”. No matter how much book knowledge you have- there is no situation that can serve for as much experience as you need on the job. If however a candidate is “over-qualified” then the company isn’t going to be naive enough to put them all the way at the bottom let’s say sorting mail. That level of over-qualification will be taken into account and the person will be placed in a position where they will learn but still utilize those skills. For my generation to blame CEO and managers for placing them through departments and monitoring their success is immature in my opinion. A graduating college student can not expect to start at the top- no matter how high your gpa or debt is. So as a college student I think that we should get used to the fact that we don’t know everything and that we have to learn from experience not just of college text books but of actually being on the job because that is when responsibility and knowledge is truly put to the test.

  2. I believe that people are hired for more than just what their degree says. For example, the graduate from University of North Carolina may have gotten a degree in a high demand area, but the type of degree that you obtain does not mean that you are a perfect fit for an organization. Like you mentioned, many recent graduates believe that they are entitled to high paying jobs, and that sense of entitlement may be portrayed to the organization, who then may deem a person as unfit for the organization’s culture. While having a degree is the first step, I believe that other things play a factor in securing a job as well. As for the organizations not trusting the skills of applicants, if they do not invest time in educating their soon-to-be employees, then they will also not reap the benefits of their possible success.

  3. This article is actually very frightening to someone who is graduating in a quarter and hoping to secure a job. I can understand the complaint that CEO’s and managers have of recent graduates thinking that they are entitled to promotions and higher positions right after being hired. I believe this is a generational issue with today’s generation Y, or those people born in the 80’s and early 90’s. We are often labelled as the generation that feels deserving of everything and does not work hard, put simply the spoiled generation. Although I understand that many recent graduates are indeed this way and possibly feel overqualified for positions because of their degree, we need to be more open to starting at the bottom and working our way up like our parents and grandparents have struggled to do before us. I think this path to success is much more rewarding than simply being placed in a suitable position from the beginning with little room for advancement.

    That said, I don’t think it’s fair that executives are saying that they prefer to only hire graduates with immediately applicable skills instead of taking the time to train them and teach them the necessary skills. This is extremely unfair because most college graduates have dedicated the past four years of their lives to obtaining their diplomas and have not had the time to learn all of the skills needed, aside from what textbooks have taught them. Unless students have interned or worked during their time at college, they really have not had a chance to obtain the skills managers are looking for. Even with job experience, each business in the real world functions differently and new hires should be given the chance to learn how that particular business runs and how tasks are completed there.

  4. I think that this article makes some valid points. One, I believe that our generations graduates believe they are more prepared for the real world than we really are. We think that just because we’ve successfully completed all the classes required for our degree that we will be able to make it in a corporation. I believe that working your way up in a company should be what everyone is required to do regardless of your degree (except Masters) and supposed “knowledge.” I believe that one of the only ways for people to respect you is for them to know that you have been where they are and have understand and have done the work that you will eventually will be managing other people to do. I believe that no one is “over-qualified” to start out at a lower level in a company. If anything, it will make you a high quality, more well rounded employee when you do get to a higher level in the company and will help you understand the company you are working for on a whole other level. By having employees work their way up in a company, companies will save lots of money in the future by being able to promote employees from within instead of paying the high costs of hiring from outside the firm.

  5. When it comes down to it, recent grads have to play by the rules that potential employers put out for them. While it is not idea, it could open the door for them. Most people following graduation are just looking to get hired, and if that is the case then they do need to play the game employers set out for them when/if they hire them. The overall issue comes down to the fact that recent grads are not in a bargaining position, essentially “beggars can’t be choosers.” If they have to rotate through departments in order to keep a job or impress their employers, they should just do it especially if it proves something to an employer. It’s interesting to wonder though, now that 2012 grads have started to enter to an improving job market with more open positions, whether that’ll impact the hoops graduates have to jump through in order to either get a job or keep a job.

  6. I agree with the thought that an overwhelming amount of recent graduates have a sense of entitlement in regards to employment. Whether you earn a degree for a major that is in high demand doesn’t mean you are ready to handle the reality of the workplace. Very few students know precisely what they want to do after graduation, and these rotational training programs may be just as much of a benefit to recent graduates, as well as employers.

  7. The decisions for hiring vary from corporation to corporation but overall I do believe that there is an issue in regards to entering the workforce for graduates. Many do get varying in demand degrees in the hopes of being hired by the bigger corporations today. They assume that their degrees automatically qualify them for some high level position when in reality it does not. The day to day operations of corporations are not as dry and clear cut as a textbook might make them seem. While a degree is a positive step in the right directions for many companies, a higher GPA does NOT guarantee success. What many of these applicants lack is work experience and that lack of experience mixed in with a false sense of entitlement have toxic effects upon the work environment. The best way to learn is as you said to go into entry level positions and prove your worth. If you truly know what you are doing you’ll reap your rewards soon enough, and if you don’t you’ll be able to learn and eventually EARN a promotion.

  8. I agree with many of the prior comments to this post/ article. In addition, although the economy and job market are beginning to bounce back, the recession has greatly impacted retirement and overall savings. People who originally were planning on retiring at a “normal” age are not as financially stable as they originally expected. These individuals may be forced to work longer which influences the number of vacant positions in the workforce. A new college graduate may be fighting for a position with another applicant who has been laid off and already has professional work experience but still needs additional income. To certain companies and in certain fields, professional work experience outweighs education. Unfortunately for many up-and-coming graduates, a bachelor’s degree is not what it was 20+ years ago. Entitlement does not work in today’s business environment. On a positive note, hard work, dedication, and willingness to work from the ground up may differentiate a new graduate because these traits are becoming harder and harder to come by.

  9. I have recently heard or read statements that coincide with one of the main points of this post. Employers are consistently voicing their opinion about college/university graduates not being qualified for or lacking essential skills for the work place. However, I feel companies and universities are to blame at times. Both place a large amount of emphasis on maintaining a high GPA instead of being sure that students fully comprehend the material at hand. This pressure leads to students cramming the material before taking exams and not retaining said information. Rotational or introduction programs at companies would prove to be useful because it allows a new-hire to find a division they feel comfortable in and therefore thrive in it.

  10. The article and post is very interesting and pertaining to all students.
    I must agree with the organization’s perspective. The fact that you earn a degree does not necessarily mean you are entitled to a high paying job. I think the reason why companies make recent graduates to start from the bottom is to learn what the company is about. It gives the manager time to asses the skills of the employee and thus place him in a department that best suits his skills and preferences. It also motivates the employee to work his best to achieve success and move through the corporate ladder.

  11. I totally agree with the previous comment. Also, there are many college graduates with a 3.5 or higher G.P.A are still looking for job opportunities and the main reason is lack of experience. Students should try to volunteer or apply for internships to experience the field that interests them. It’s a great opportunity to develop our professional skills from the bottom at a company that we want to work for so that we can grow within the firm.

  12. I agree with everyone here that its a tough job market now a days. After reading this blog post and the comments, I feel even more relaxed and thankful that I already have a job offer for after graduation. I have interened at an Accounting firm for the past two years and after my internship this past winter, they gave me a full time offer. This goes back to the point about how important it is to have an internship and gain that valuable experience. Many companies that hire interns end up hiring them full time as well because they invest so much money on interns. I have even heard my manager at the accounting firm say that they actually loose money on interns and so the best way for them to turn it around and benefit is by hiring the interns for full time.

  13. As nervous as I am applying for jobs this upcoming fall, I am also excited with the possibilities. As a college student I understand that there is a bigger group of people who are searching for full time jobs. This includes parents, new immigrants, graduate students, etc. It is very competitive out there and even though it is still a struggle to find a job upon graduation, we are very fortunate we were not applying for these positions a few years back during the recession. Every student has potential to earn an entry level position for the company of their choice. However we do have to realize it is not a walk in the park and that this is the real world. So as nervous as I am for the future, I am very excited for what it holds for me personally and the rest of the students my age.

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