Indiana Business Council

The pulse of Hoosier business.

 

Indiana

2012 Skills Survey

A report about perceptions of skills of college graduates and the current workforce.

July 2012

Business Confidence Index

Business Confidence Declines Slightly

Indiana’s Business Confidence Index is now 63 percent – a slight decline from previous months, but not a considerable change compared to the trends seen in 2011. The Council indicates their confidence has not waned significantly as we complete the second quarter of 2012. Started in December 2010, the Index is a measure of the overall confidence Indiana business
leaders and employees have in their
company’s opportunity for growth and
success in the coming 12 months.

Indiana What Did Hoosiers Say?

Poor perceptions of graduates and The workforce

This survey measured perceptions of skills of both the current workforce and recent college graduates. Perceptions of college graduates and the workforce in general are very poor:

  • Only 39% feel college graduates can use the skills learned in the classroom
  • Only 40% feel college graduates meet their expectations
  • Only 21% feel readiness of college graduates is excellent or very good
  • Less than one-quarter (22%) rate the job readiness of the current workforce as excellent or very good

However, while perceptions are fairly negative and two-thirds feel finding talent with required skills is difficult, it is not impossible as less than half are experiencing a shortage in workers, possibly due to the economy.

Employers hiring

What’s important to Hoosier companies?

Critical thinking/problem solving, oral communication, and professional/work ethic were the three most frequently mentioned skills necessary to being successful in one’s career. This is not surprising but is concerning when we contrast that with ratings on how well college graduates and the current workforce as a whole perform in these areas, which we will see in the next section.

Below are the skills that at least nine out of ten indicated are necessary to being successful in one’s career:

  • Critical Thinking/Problem Solving
  • Oral Communication
  • Professionalism/Work Ethic
  • Serving All Clients/Customers
  • Reading Comprehension
  • English Language
  • Teamwork/Collaboration
  • Written Communication
Most important career skills

Unprepared Grads

The perception of college graduate skill preparedness is very poor. Listed below are how Indiana companies rated college graduates on the areas they felt were most important. The percentage is the total rated as excellent and very good. The findings indicate college graduates are not prepared for the day-to-day aspects of a job.

Critical Thinking/Problem Solving

25%

Oral Communication

25%

Professionalism/Work Ethic

18%

Serving All Clients/Customers

18%

Reading Comprehension

31%

English Language

41%

Teamwork/Collaboration

29%

Written Communication

18%

The Council was also asked what
skills college grads were lacking
the most. Here’s the top results:Economic Outlook?

What about the current workforce?

The current workforce does not fair much better on perceptions of being prepared in key skills critical to one’s success. The percent indicating the skills of the current workforce as excellent or very good is shown below.

Critical Thinking/Problem Solving

25%

Oral Communication

25%

Professionalism/Work Ethic

38%

Serving All Clients/Customers

47%

Reading Comprehension

30%

English Language

48%

Teamwork/Collaboration

39%

Written Communication

20%

When asked what skills were
lacking from the current workforce,
here is what the Council had to say:Technology Industry
Indiana Opinion: What It Means For Indiana
Gerry Dick
Gerry Dick

President and Managing Editor
Grow Indiana Media Ventures

Creator and Host
Inside INdiana Business

Gerry's take

We’ve been hearing from business leaders throughout the state about the so-called ‘skills gap’, but these results show us the issue is perhaps more widespread than we thought. Many employers have been concerned for some time about the preparedness of those entering the work force as well as those already on the job.


Steve Walker
Steve Walker

Chairman & CEO
Walker

As CEO of a company that has been around for more than 70 years, I can testify to the importance of skills like critical thinking, communication, and professionalism/work ethic. It is unfortunate that college graduates and the current workforce rate so poorly in these areas. It is vital that the collective we (colleges/universities and businesses) work together to ensure college graduates and the workforce are prepared, not just in the specifics of their trade, but the skills necessary on how to survive and thrive in a work environment.

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2012 Business Outlook

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