It Takes More Than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success

Hart Research Associates | April 10, 2013 | VOCED Plus

This report provides a detailed analysis of US employers’ priorities for the kinds of learning college students need to succeed in today’s economy. It also reports on changes in educational and assessment practices that employers recommend. The report is based on an online survey among 318 employers whose organizations have at least 25 employees and report that 25 percent or more of their new hires hold either an associate degree from a two-year college or a bachelor degree from a four-year college. Respondents are executives at private sector and nonprofit organizations.

The results of the survey suggest that employers: (1) view innovation as a priority; (2) recognize that skills that cut across majors are critical to career success and are more important than choice of major; (3) recognize the importance of liberal education and the liberal arts; (4) endorse a blended model of liberal and applied learning; (5) see college graduates more as having skills for entry level positions rather than for advancement; and (6) express interest in e-portfolios and partnerships with colleges to ensure college graduates transition successfully to the workplace.

Nearly all employers surveyed (95%) say they give hiring preference to college graduates with skills that will enable them to contribute to innovation in the workplace.