A new national survey reveals that 92% of higher education administrators and faculty believe their institutions do an effective job preparing students for professional success. However, similar studies have found that employers, recent graduates and current students report that higher ed’s career-preparation initiatives miss the mark, and that students enter the workforce without the skills to succeed.
What should we make of this misalignment? And how can higher ed institutions address it?
Grammarly for Education, the AI-powered communication assistant trusted by more than 3,000 educational institutions, provides new insights in a report released today, “How Well Is Higher Education Preparing Graduates for Professional Life?: Insights from a New National Survey.”
Grammarly and Higher Ed Dive surveyed more than 200 higher ed administrators and faculty across the country. Key findings include:
- 92% of higher ed administrators and faculty said their institutions’ career-preparation initiatives did an effective job.
- 93% said student career readiness played an important role in their everyday responsibilities.
- 95% of administrators said their career prep was effective regardless of students’ area of study.
- 91% of administrators said their career prep was effective regardless of students’ backgrounds (e.g., learning abilities, native language).
How realistic are these self-assessments? To answer that question, Grammarly delved into the latest research on what employers, alumni and students say. Surveys from leading national research organizations paint a much different picture:
- Only 11% of business leaders said they believed college graduates were well prepared for the workforce, according to a Gallup poll.
- Only 41% of recent graduates said they believed their college degree signaled they have the skills employers need, a Cengage Group survey reveals.
- Only 47% of employers said they believed college graduates were proficient at communication — but 96% said communication was the most important competency they seek, according to the 2023 job outlook report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
- More than 6 out of 10 higher ed administrators and faculty admitted in Grammarly’s survey that their students struggled with writing — including grammar, adopting a professional tone, using text-speak and more.
“There is no doubt that higher ed administrators and faculty understand the central importance of career prep,” says Mary Rose Craycraft, the head of education customer success at Grammarly. “And it's not for lack of effort. The reality is that the more traditional methods of career support that many institutions rely on no longer effectively meet the needs of the modern student.”
Higher education institutions need to show they provide a clear path to career success — but many are failing to do that. Institutions with misplaced confidence in their career-preparation initiatives will suffer as the debate about the value of higher education intensifies and institutions compete for a shrinking pool of students amid the fast-approaching “enrollment cliff.” Higher ed administrators can’t afford to ignore the gaps revealed in Grammarly’s report.
For more findings and insights on the state of higher education’s career-preparation initiatives, download the full Grammarly report: “How Well Is Higher Education Preparing Graduates for Professional Life?: Insights from a New National Survey.”
Survey Methodology: The survey, conducted by Higher Ed Dive in partnership with Grammarly, polled 203 higher education professionals from February to March 2023 through an online, invitation-only survey. Most respondents (54%) represented public four-year institutions of higher education; the others served at private four-year institutions (29%) and two-year institutions (17%). The survey participants included faculty (45%), provosts or other VP-level administrators (27%), directors (16%), department heads/chairs (5%), deans (4%) and presidents/C-level executives (3%).
Grammarly is on a mission to improve lives by improving communication. Every day, 30 million people and 50,000 teams worldwide trust Grammarly’s AI and human expertise to help ideate, compose, revise, and comprehend communications. Our product offerings — Grammarly Free, Grammarly Premium, Grammarly Business, Grammarly for Education, and Grammarly for Developers — deliver secure, contextually relevant support across over 500,000 apps and websites. Founded in 2009, Grammarly is one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential Companies, one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies in AI, a member of the Forbes Cloud 100, and one of Inc.’s Best Workplaces. Learn more at grammarly.com/about.