Putting Education To Work: CSU Career Directors Statewide Employer Survey
In October and November 2009, Career Centers from 21 of the 23 campuses of the California State University conducted a statewide survey of employers who recruit students for professional postgraduate positions. On average, the 258 responding employers recruited at 4.5 of the 23 campuses in the CSU.
- Four distinctive qualities of CSU graduates:
The employers identified four areas where CSU graduates they had hired were rated significantly above the pool of all college graduates they had hired. The four areas are teamwork; flexibility to respond to changing work demands; potential to contribute to the success of an organization in the future; and representing the diversity of the emerging workplace.
- Importance of centralized campus-based employer services:
Employers indicated that they highly valued both those services related to distributing information on opportunities directly to students (e.g. job postings, organizing internship and job fairs, and campus interviews) as well as those services involving building relationships on campus with faculty and student organizations. Eighty-five percent (85%) of the employers strongly or moderately agreed that the services provided to them by CSU career centers had met their expectations.
- Impact of potential loss/reduction of employer services on hiring CSU graduates: An overwhelming majority (almost 90%) indicated that there would be great impact or some impact on their hiring of CSU graduates should employer services no longer be available as a centralized campus service. Three themes emerged concerning potential impact: reduced effectiveness of efforts to attract and hire students; deteriorating relationships with appropriate faculty, academic programs, and campus leadership; and reduced number of students hired from CSU campuses and ultimately elimination of Cal State campuses from the targeted list of schools from which to recruit in favor of the private and other public campuses still providing employer services.
The survey clearly documents that, from an employer perspective, the CSU system is producing highly qualified candidates across the state that possess the technical skills, teamwork orientation, work ethic, growth potential, and diversity that aligns with our mission. These are all attributes that are growing in importance in the workplace, particularly as employers across the state respond to the opportunities and challenges presented by the current economic disruption. Concurrently, it is also clear that to continue to reap the reward from this investment, it will be critical for each campus to maintain the services to employers currently available, including efforts to assure that our students are well prepared to effectively engage the career selection and job search process.
In a competitive marketplace, employers have told us that they will refocus their hiring efforts on students from other private and public universities and colleges if we cease to provide high quality, responsive services to their organizations. A deteriorating reputation with employers not only means that our students lose critical opportunities to start their careers, but also impacts the financial and programmatic partnerships that are part of our campus relationships with the employers who hire our students. Ultimately, a significant reduction of employer services will also erode public support for the value of the higher education we offer, and the willingness of public officials to fund the CSU on a high priority basis.