The issue of what skills employers want in a graduate is one that is constantly discussed and debated. This is usually done in the almost complete absence of facts. A recent survey (2700 recruitment consultants and 2300 CEO’s ) fills this gap, at least at the global level.
I have noted elsewhere that as an outcome of this there is also a global employability ranking : see here for this, where TCD is the only Irish university to rank in the top 150.
Some highlights : the ideal university is described as one that emphasises “social skills”, “a center that teaches the students in theory and then accompanies them in practice “, that gives “communication training and presentation skills…acquisition of social skills through group work” that generates graduates that are “open minded” etc.
Soft skills MATTER. The respondents talk about practical skills being vital, about blending theory and practice but when pressed over 90% state soft skills and professional integration courses should be included. This by the way is not internships, which are most important for less than 5% of respondents.
Past experience with alumni matter more than rankings and teaching/research when it comes to hiring decisions.
Personality, more than practical or theoretical knowledge (seen as equally important) matters in terms of future success in an organization
These soft skills, such as motivation and adaptability and communication skills, are deficient across the board.
Despite not rating internships as terribly useful these remain the dominant way companies interact.