At Sea in a Deluge of Data

This spring, more college students than ever received baccalaureate degrees, and their career prospects are brighter than they were for last year’s graduates.

Employers responding to this year’s National Association of Colleges and Employers’ “Job Outlook 2014 Survey” said they planned to increase entry-level hiring by almost 8 percent. But what they may not realize is that these seemingly techno-savvy new hires could be missing some basic yet vital research skills.

It’s a problem that we found after interviewing 23 people in charge of hiring at leading employers like Microsoft, KPMG, Nationwide Insurance, the Smithsonian, and the FBI. This research was part of a federally funded study for Project Information Literacy, a national study about how today’s college students find and use information.

Nearly all of the employers said they expected candidates, whatever their field, to be able to search online, a given for a generation born into the Internet world. But they also expected job candidates to be patient and persistent researchers and to be able to retrieve information in a variety of formats, identify patterns within an array of sources, and dive deeply into source material.

Most important, though, employers said they need workers who can collaborate with colleagues to solve problems and who can engage in thoughtful analysis and integrate contextual organizational details rarely found online. <Read more.>

Via Alison J. Head and John Wihbey, The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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