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Realities versus Perceptions of the Job Market

Graduating students have unrealistic expectations regarding their post-graduation jobs, according to one survey.

Elizabeth Hoyt

May 09, 2013

Realities versus Perceptions of the Job Market
According to a survey, graduating students have unrealistic expectations regarding their post-graduation jobs. The students currently enrolled in college that are set to graduate in 2013, as reported by Accenture’s survey, over estimate the likelihood of gaining a well-paid, full-time position within their area of expertise. The survey was conducted by polling more than 1,000 students who are graduating this year in addition to nearly 1,000 students who graduated in 2011 and 2012 in order to get data on expectations of those out of college and those almost ready to graduate and compare the results. The survey found that those graduating this year had expectations that were far removed from the realities of the current job market. In other words, the survey compares those who know how the real world works because of experience versus those who think they know how the real world works but haven’t experienced it yet to find out for themselves. For example, 15 percent of those about to graduate in 2013 believed they’d make less than $25k per year, compared to 32 percent of 2011 and 2012 graduates who actually earn $25 or less annually. There’s also a difference in expectations of employment: nearly two-thirds of 2013 graduates expect to be employed full-time in their field post-graduation, while barely half of those who graduated in 2011 or 2012 have full-time jobs in their fields of study. There also seems to be a large amount of misunderstanding regarding the expectations of job training. More than three quarters of 2013’s graduates polled said they expected formal job training, however, less than half of 2011 and 2012 graduates reported actually receiving training in their first professional position. In terms of continuing schooling, less than a quarter of 2013 graduates believed they would need to pursue a graduate degree in order to further their careers, but 42 percent of the 2011 and 2012 graduates indicated they would need a graduate degree to do so. “A solution is sorely needed to bridge the disconnect between employers that are concerned about college graduates being unprepared for available jobs and the graduates who feel overqualified for them,” said the senior managing director of Accenture’s talent and organization practice, David Smith. This was in reference to the results, as indicated by the creators of the poll, which clearly show that employers need to reevaluate hiring and training programs, in addition to reassessing their partnerships with universities in order to help better prepare students for the job market.

What do you think could remedy the issues between potential employers and upcoming graduates?

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