Employers’ Expectations of University Graduates as They Transition into the Workplace

  • Michael Cheang Associate Professor, University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • Georgia Lynn Yamashita


Research on work readiness indicates employers are increasingly pointing out that soft skills are as important as discipline specific knowledge and technical skills when hiring recent university graduates. However, many university students think excellent grades are the main reason they get the jobs. The disconnect between what employers expect and what students imagine is significant to the extent that many recent university graduates are unable to be employed in the jobs they want, and many employers have challenges dealing with recent university graduates who are not work ready. In 2018, a soft skills pilot study was conducted with internship supervisors who work with the Human Development and Family Studies Program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. An online survey was sent to 65 internship supervisors, and three focus group sessions were conducted as a follow-up of the survey. In 2019, Phase 2 of this study polled 76 employers who participated in a university career fair on what soft skills they expect university graduates to have at the time of hiring. This paper reports on findings to two questions: 1) What employers think of undergraduate university students who have completed an internship with them, and 2) What soft skills employers expect of recent university graduates who are transitioning into the workplace. Findings indicate that in addition to soft skills, employers also regard personal attributes and qualities as equally important at the time of hire.
Oct 12, 2020
How to Cite
CHEANG, Michael; YAMASHITA, Georgia Lynn. Employers’ Expectations of University Graduates as They Transition into the Workplace. European Journal of Social Science Education and Research, [S.l.], v. 7, n. 3, p. 27-36, oct. 2020. ISSN 2312-8429. Available at: <http://journals.euser.org/index.php/ejser/article/view/4834>. Date accessed: 04 dec. 2020.