Back To Career News

3 Reasons Employers Aren’t Hiring Recent College Grads


The unemployment rate for the youngest members of the workforce is significantly higher than the general population — 14.8 percent, in fact, as of November, 2013, according to the Center for American Progress, compared to the 7 percent or so we’ve been seeing for the general population. All indications are that Millennial workers are not recovering from the Great Recession at the same rate as other age groups. But why?


(Photo Credit: Stuart Miles/

1. Millennials have a branding problem.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

A recent survey from Bentley University found that employers don’t feel that recent college graduates are prepared to work, easy to manage, or have sufficient hard and soft skills to be a success. Whether or not that’s true, the fact that employers think it’s true represents an obstacle for younger workers who are looking for work.

2. Businesses aren’t clear on what they want.

“While roughly two thirds of business leaders and recruiters say that ‘hard’ technical skills and ‘soft’ skills are equally important, a majority say they’d prefer to hire a recent graduate with industry-specific skills than a liberal arts graduate who needs to be trained first,” writes Eric Pianin at CNBC.

In other words, companies say they’re looking for one thing, when they’re really looking for another. No wonder, then, that younger workers have trouble fulfilling employers’ expectations.

3. Recent graduates genuinely are underprepared.

Being “prepared to work,” in the context of this survey isn’t just passion for the job and a good work ethic. It’s also knowing how to function in an office environment, something the survey takers say recent college grads don’t know how to do. That’s always been the case, throughout history — all of us were once clueless workers who didn’t understand how to get a read on corporate culture, and we learned.

The difference today is that employers are impatient. (See previous re: wanting workers who don’t need to be trained to do their jobs.) The solution? Schools might need to do a better job of preparing students for life in the work world, as well as teaching them the hard skills they need to get the job done.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you think employers are being unfair to younger workers? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
Read more from Jen

Leave a Reply

5 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
1 Comment authors
terryMary WilkinsTroycoady mcpheeKim Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of

I graduated from a technical institute recently with a business administration qualification. I did very well in the course and gained comprehensive specific skills directly related to the industry. I have applied for over 50 jobs and have not made any interviews. No one will hire me. They either want someone with a lot of experience or they want someone via word-of-mouth. It’s a shame no one will give me a chance to interview so they can see what I… Read more »

coady mcphee
coady mcphee

mary you are part of the problem i hope your business falls apart.


So employers are asked why they aren’t employing millenials and they give these reasons. But is that really what the statistic is caused by? Maybe with such high unemployment (all over the world) employers are simply spoilt for choice. After all, if an employer is really hiring the most suitable person for the job someone with relevant experience and proven performance is going to be the chosen candidate. Also with the availability of experienced people there is no need to… Read more »

Mary Wilkins
Mary Wilkins

Grads from a technical school or a specific major that relates to the business may be more favored in that they might have “more of a clue” but I think a big reason is the expectation of starting above entry level. The non-traditional student (ie: mature) may find a position faster for the perceived experience. Lately, I have been interviewing applicants that have never worked (at all!) and I have been telling them to go find a job in retail… Read more »


I go out of my way to not hire a college graduate. I don’t want to encourage the crap those liberal anti capitalist teachers are filling their minds with. I recently filled 3 mgmnt positions and none of them had college degrees.

What Am I Worth?

What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.