A new Gallup survey that polled business leaders on higher-education issues revealed that executives hold a low opinion of the ability of colleges to prepare students for the workplace. American adults also believe just as strongly that higher-ed institutions are not readying students for employment.
According to the survey, which was conducted in partnership with the Lumina Foundation, only 11% of business leaders “strongly agree” that today’s undergraduates are leaving college with the skills and competencies that they need to succeed in their workplaces. Fourteen percent of Americans believe the same thing.
You’ll see some of the business leaders’ opinions in the chart below:
What I find fascinating is the disconnect between the perceptions of college administrators and business leaders. Every year Gallup surveys college provosts and chief academic officers and in the latest poll, which was released last year, 96% of college administrators, said they were “extremely or somewhat confident” in their institution’s ability to prepare their students for the workforce.
In addition, 72% of college administrators said their institutions were “very effective” in providing a quality undergraduate education. Here is a snapshot the college administrator survey:
When asked to comment on the huge disparity of opinions, Brandon Busteed, the executive director of Gallup Education, said in an interview with Inside Higher Ed, observed that “it’s such a shocking gap, it’s just hard ot even say what’s going on here.”
I suspect that the true answer – are students being prepared for the workplace – lies somewhere between these two extreme positions.
Another interesting result of the new Gallup survey, just 9% of business leaders said that where job applicants obtained their degrees was “very important.” In contrast, what was most important was the job candidate’s “applied skills in the field.”
What I also found fascinating is that only 28% of business leaders said that a graduate’s college major was “very important” considering how obsessed parents and teenagers are about picking the “right” college major.