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Breaking News: People With Higher Degrees Aren't All That Employable

Most college graduates are leaving school without the skills to pay the bills, according to a new British study.

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Employers complained to Glasgow University researchers that today's college graduates lack necessary skills in problem solving, communication and customer service, and on top of that they tend to be late for work. Ouch. Essentially the employers surveyed said that college degrees aren't helping students become, well, employable:

The latest study shows one in six employers is unhappy with graduate 'skills and competencies' when they apply for jobs.

It says:'Employers are frustrated that higher education courses do not meet their needs,' says the report.

'Employers expect graduates to demonstrate a range of skills and attributes that include team-working, communication and often managerial abilities or potential.'

Ah yes, the dreaded "employability" factor. The Achilles heel of people with advanced degrees but no social skills as well as every liberal arts major. It's a tale as old as time, or at least it dates back to the mid 1980s. You majored in something called "French Renaissance"? M'kay. Do you know how to use Excel? No? What exactly did you learn in college that applies directly to the workplace? Crickets.

Of course, this is a British study, but it could ring true on this side of the pond given the recent raging debate in the U.S. media about the return on investment of the average, and increasingly expensive, college degree. Even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is worried. It's a valid debate.

There's no debating, however, that soft skills and problem solving abilities matter to employers. Quite a lot, in fact. But I was a liberal arts major so what do I know.


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