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Monday, November 22, 2010

Employers and gen Y have different skills expectations: Survey

From an article posted on, Sep 22, 2010 

Employers place more emphasis on communication, customer service than younger workers realize

Employers and young people have different expectations around what is the most important skills for new graduates to possess, which means generation Y could have a hard time meeting employers' needs, according to a new survey.

Most employers cite communication skills as the most important skill for a candidate to possess, while generation Y (aged 18 to 35) believe employers are looking for experience, found the survey by Toronto's George Brown College.

Also, only two-thirds of the 500 18-35 year olds surveyed believe communication and teamwork is important to employers while 80 per cent of the 300 employers surveyed say these skills are extremely important. While 50 per cent of gen Ys believe customer service to be extremely important to employers, 70 per cent of those hiring say customer service is a necessary soft skill.

In addition, 71 per cent of employers put emphasis on the ability to communicate with people of other cultures, compared with only 49 per cent of gen Ys.

The numbers send a troubling signal that future employees and employers are potentially headed in different directions, said Anne Sado, president of George Brown College

"What employers are saying is that the technical skills are table stakes. They're expected as a base level," said Sado. "The knowledge-based economy will require much more attention by every institution on the balance of soft and hard skills, and the majority of gen Ys still seem to be under the impression that focusing their attention on the latter will suffice to acquire meaningful and gainful employment. That's just not the reality of today or tomorrow."

Generation Y will be challenged to meet the demands of its current and future employers who are placing ever greater emphasis on the soft skills necessary to compete in the knowledge economy — a misalignment of workplace priorities that will undermine the country's future economic performance if left unaddressed.

Despite the misalignment of workplace priorities between the two groups, the survey results indicate agreement on other issues including the belief that information technology, financial services, and science and technology will be key economic drivers over the next 10 years.

An article also reporting on this topic appeared in the Toronto Star, Friday Sept 10th.
This article was recently reposted on George Brown's home page.  

Check out for more ' George Brown in the News' articles

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