#Nextchat: Entering the Workforce - Ready or Not


Ready or not, here they come.

In just a few months, the Class of 2017 will be taking the full-time leap into the workforce.

Starting a new job can be awkward at any age, but even more so for new graduates—and all new young professionals—who are entering the workforce for the first time.

Whether or not they've had internships or part-time jobs, new graduates and other young professionals are expected to arrive on the first day equipped with basic levels of interpersonal ability, critical thinking skills and professionalism.

Some organizations are fortunate enough to hire great interns and convert them into full-time employees when they graduate. Other organizations are not so lucky and are finding that America’s college graduates are simply not prepared to enter the workforce.

Survey after survey of U.S. employers show a gap between what employers expect from their new hires and what they’re actually getting.

The Forbes article “Are Recent Grads Prepared for the Workplace?” reports that “Fewer than two in five managers believed college graduates are well-equipped for a job in their field of study, and less than half believed they could write clearly, manage a project, give a presentation, conduct a meeting or create a budget.”

The SHRM online news article HR’s Hard Challenge: When Employees Lack Soft Skills reports that the soft skills needed in today’s workplace are becoming increasingly hard to find and that “Soft skills—which are needed to effectively communicate, problem-solve, collaborate and organize—are becoming more important for success as the workplace evolves socially and technologically. The rub is that recruiters and employment experts report a ‘soft skills gap,’ especially among young workers, more accustomed to texting than talking, that forces organizations to hire many candidates who fall short on interpersonal abilities.”

So why are our high school and college graduates so unprepared for the workforce, and what can schools and employers do to help graduates gear up to enter the workforce?

Please join @shrmnextchat at 3 p.m. ET on March 29 for a SHRM Young Professionals Advisory Council (YPAC) #Nextchat with special guests YPAC member Jillian Caswell (@JillianACaswell) and Jessica Gofforth (@JessicaGofforth) and other members of the 2017 SHRM YPAC. We’ll chat about workforce readiness issues and how employers and HR can help.   


Q1. As an employer or manager, what skills do you notice are most deficient in today’s new graduates as they enter the workforce?

Q2. As a young professional, what skills and behaviors did you realize you were most lacking when you started your first job?

Q3. As an employer, what would you ask our schools to focus on as they educate and equip the future workforce?

Q4. As an employer, how do you assess the workforce readiness of new graduates in the application or interview processes?

Q5. What specific skills should young HR professionals come equipped with as they enter the workforce?

Q6. In addition to internships, how can students gain the soft skills needed to enter the workforce? 

Q7. How can employers work with colleges and universities to help prepare students for the workforce? What is your organization doing?

Q8. What workforce readiness advice do you have for new graduates preparing to enter the workforce? 

If you missed this #Nextchat on March 29, please click here for the RECAP. 



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