Crisis of Confidence: Current College Students Do Not Feel Prepared for the Workforce

Posted by Strada Education Network on January 29, 2018

New Survey Reveals Crisis of Confidence in Workforce Readiness Among College Students

Strada-Gallup survey finds majority of students don’t believe they will graduate with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the job market, but career-focused institutional engagement can have major impact.

Gallup and Strada Education NetworkSM recently released findings from the 2017 College Student Survey, a new nationally representative survey of current students examining their perceptions about preparation for the workforce and the career-related support they receive from their institutions.

Representing the views of more than 32,000 students at 43 randomly selected four-year institutions, the survey reveals a crisis of confidence among most students regarding their readiness to launch careers:

Only a third of students believe they will graduate with the skills and knowledge to be successful in the job market (34%) and in the workplace (36%).
Just half (53%) believe their major will lead to a good job.

“Higher education’s promise of social mobility hinges on students graduating with confidence, purpose and the skills needed to land their first job,” said William D. Hansen, President and CEO of Strada Education Network and former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education. “Students are telling us they feel underprepared to enter the workforce while employers bemoan the skills of recent graduates. That signals demand for new career advising and work-relevant learning models that support more successful transitions from education to employment.”

Importantly, the findings also point to solutions, revealing that students who have these three career-focused experiences at their institution are significantly more confident about their preparation for the workforce:

  • Speak often with faculty or staff about their career options;
  • Have at least one university official initiate a conversation with them about their career options; and,
  • Believe their school is committed to helping their students find a rewarding career.

To view complete findings, download the full report at

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