In an opinion piece recently, the team at Student Job Search found that many Kiwi students can be very well qualified but are underprepared in the area of workplace experience. According to a new survey, too many New Zealand students are relying on qualifications to secure employment, rather than workplace experience gained while studying. Student Job Search’s annual Student Satisfaction Survey polled 3,054 students and 1,291 employers and they discovered significant differences between what each group considered to be important when entering the job market. Understandably, employers ranked reliability as their top priority when hiring students (76%), followed by hard work (67%). In contrast, just over half of students thought employers were looking for reliability (54%) and hard work (56%).
Dean Jervis, Sales and Marketing Manager for Student Job Search said that some students believe a qualification alone will be their ticket into the work force as students tend to place more weight on a relevant academic background or industry knowledge, with 23% thinking it was a priority for employers, compared to just 10% of employers themselves. As Dean Jervis says, “Degree and grades remain important, but in most cases they are only a part of the equation when it comes to securing employment. Employers need employees to fit into an existing team, put in a full day’s work and be confident handling differences with a customer or colleague. These are things graduates should be able to refer to from previous employment experience.”
When employers were asked to rank the relative importance of qualification, experience and attitude when hiring graduates, they placed greatest emphasis on attitude (50%), ahead of work experience and qualification (25% each). “We can’t say enough about the value of having a work history and workplace experience. It provides a practical component to the student’s academic record and demonstrates a healthy and motivated attitude towards work. Too many young Kiwis are entering the job market well qualified but underprepared. This should be a call to action for both students and employers to bridge the education gap”, Mr Jervis said.
These results from the Student Job Search annual Student Satisfaction Survey back up recent research from the United States, which shows around a third of graduates didn’t feel that their education had prepared them well for employment. Employers’ top five priorities when hiring students are that they are hard-working, reliable, have relevant experience and good interpersonal and communications skills with a relevant academic background and industry knowledge.
For further information on Student Job Search, please visit their website at http://www.sjs.co.nz.