Only around 2 percent of employers surveyed want students with liberal arts degrees. Source: Shutterstock.

At the top of the list of reasons to pick the US for many students who study there is employment prospects. But a new study has revealed around 50 percent of human resource (HR) leaders in the country feel colleges do not adequately prepare students for the world of work.

The Learning House and Future Workplace Closing the Skills Gap study, published this week, also found over a third of HR leaders felt colleges were responsible for preparing students for work.

Universities should be creating links with employers, but by and large, this is not being done on a big enough scale to impact the students, the study concluded.

“Schools [are] charging more money than ever before yet they haven’t taken it upon themselves to form stronger bonds with employers,” Future Workplace research director Dan Schawbel told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The solution? Close the skills gap, Schawbel said.

“Everyone wins if you close the skills gap […] The best way to market the school is placement rate [and] employers benefit because they fulfil their skills gap.”

Among the 600 companies surveyed, over 70 percent of them have 500 positions collectively which need to be filled, however approximately half of the jobs are left empty due to an influx of unqualified candidates.

Respondents reported the hardest roles to fill were in the technology and IT sector, with 63 percent claiming a graduate who majored in ‘denoted information systems’ would be in high demand and any student with a liberal arts major would be the least desirable.

According to Schawbel, “very few employers want to hire liberal arts majors”.

But there is good news for those who attend two-year colleges, as 90 percent of employers are open to those who had not obtained a traditional four-year degree in the US.

Hard skills were valued higher than soft skills, with project management, computer skills and analytical skills being the most in-demand, with 47 percent of employers looking for them. In terms of soft skills, the most popular skills (37 percent) employers look for are teamwork, leadership and the ability to adapt when faced with change.

However, Schawbel also claimed “no one cares about GPA anymore”, with only around 1 percent of employers reporting a student’s GPA has any effect on their chances of being hired.

The GPA is not always a reflection on a student’s ability and so many employers are beginning to disregard it, Schawbel said.

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