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Talent Feed Articles - NACE Career Competencies

October 2019

The Four Career Competencies Employers Value Most

What career readiness competencies do employers value most in their new college hires? Employers responding to NACE’s Job Outlook surveys have consistently indicated that critical thinking/problem solving, teamwork/collaboration, professionalism/work ethic, and oral/written communications are all essential competencies.

The top four competencies have remained consistent the past three years. When rating the eight NACE Career Readiness Competencies by essential need in the Job Outlook 2019 survey, critical thinking/problem solving once again tops the list. (See Figure 1 in published article.)

Teamwork/collaboration, professionalism/work ethic, and oral/written communications fall second through fourth, as they did last year. All of the four top-rated competencies are rated above “essential.”

However, the competencies that are rated between “somewhat essential” and “essential” have changed order. This year, digital technology is the fifth most essential competency, according to respondents, and leadership is sixth. This is interesting since the Job Outlook 2019 survey found that leadership skills were also lower on this year’s list of attributes that employers look for on a student’s resume.

The final two competencies—career management and global/multi-cultural fluency—remain in the same order, but their average ratings fell.

In terms of proficiency, employers gave students slightly higher marks on all eight competencies
this year, but all ratings still fall in the range between “somewhat proficient” and “very proficient.”
Employers feel that recent graduates are most proficient in teamwork/collaboration, digital
technology, and critical thinking/problem solving. (See Figure 2 in published article.)

Data for the Job Outlook 2019 survey were collected from August 1, 2018, through October 8, 2018. A total of 172 surveys were returned—an 18.5 percent response rate. The Job Outlook 2019 report is available free to members through MyNACE. Nonmembers can purchase the report through the NACE Store.

Submitted by:
By NACE Staff

National Association of Colleges and Employers


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