Survey: Students need more realistic job expectationsEmployers have a message to recent graduates expecting to enter the job market: Get real.
By: Staff Report, Alexandria Echo Press
ST. CLOUD, Minn. – Employers have a message to recent graduates expecting to enter the job market: Get real.
Every fall, the MN College Job Outlook survey asks employers, “What do students most need to improve upon?” For six consecutive years the number one answer has been, “Students need to develop more realistic job expectations.” To address and clarify the disparity between graduating students and employers, the Career Services Center at St. Cloud State University conducted a follow up survey with both groups.
The study polled 893 May graduates from seven Minnesota colleges and universities and 230 employers from organizations active in college recruiting. Students and employers were asked the same questions. Students were asked to indicate what they expected for their first job out of college. Employers were asked to indicate what students should expect for the entry-level job for which they hired the greatest number of new college (four year) graduates. The study was conducted by Andy Ditlevson, associate director of the Career Services Center.
The study yielded the following results:
How many hours per week should new (four year) graduates expect to work?
Student – 893 May Grads* Employers – 230**
Less than 40 hours 13.3% 5.7%
40-44 hours 53.2% 46.1%
45-49 20.0% 36.1%
50-54 8.4% 7.8%
55+ 5.0% 4.3%
Differences in expectations are particularly noticeable if you compare expectations to work 45 or more hours per week with only 33.4 percent of students having that expectation compared to 48.2 percent of employers.
How often should new graduates expect to work hours before 8 a.m., after 5 p.m. or on weekends, i.e., work hours outside of 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. schedule?
Rarely 19.5% 18.3%
Occasionally (once per week) 34.3% 30.0%
Frequently (more than once a week) 29.8% 30.4%
Regularly (normal schedule has 16.5% 21.3%
hours that are outside 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday - Friday
Differences between students and employers were not large in this area, but students may be surprised to hear that more than 20 percent of employers indicated that their new hires should expect regular/normal work schedule to include hours outside of 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday - Friday.
What starting salary should a new college graduate expect to earn?
Less than $30,000 21.5% 19.6%
$30-$34,999 27.4% 22.6%
$35-$39,999 21.3% 13.5%
$40-$44,999 10.6% 16.5%
$45-$49,999 6.0% 13.5%
$50,000+ 13.1% 14.3%
Overall, students’ expectations for starting salaries were actually lower than the employers, especially if you look at the numbers for salaries over $40,000: 29.7 percent compared to 44.3 percent.
How much time to expect to first promotion?
First 12 months 24.5% 3.5%
12-18 months 39.3% 29.1%
18-24 months 17.0% 33.0%
24+ months 19.1% 34.3%
This question yielded the largest gap between student and employer expectations, with 63.9 percent of students expecting to get promoted within 18 months compared to 32.6 percent of employers indicating they would typically promote a new hire in that same timeframe.
*Students results are from 893 May 2011 graduates who participated in the MN Senior Survey. Participating colleges in the survey were: St. Cloud State University, Minnesota State University Mankato, Winona State University, Metropolitan State University, Southwest Minnesota State University, Bemidji State University and Gustavus Adolphus College.
**Employer responses were collected from 230 employers who actively recruit new college graduates in Minnesota. Data was collected in November of 2010 by Andrew Ditlevson, St. Cloud State Career Service Center.