Korn Ferry Survey: 82 Percent of Executives Say It's Harder for Today's College Grads to Land a Job

Los Angeles, Sept. 4, 2014 — As college students head back to campus for another academic year, or set their sights on the workforce for the first time, senior executives are weighing in on their prospects for the future. According to a Korn Ferry (NYSE: KFY) survey of more than 200 executives fielded this summer, eighty-two percent (82%) of executives acknowledged that jobs are more difficult to come by today compared to when they graduated.

Overall, executives responded that a college degree helps in building a successful career.  Eighty-seven percent (87%) said that their undergraduate studies prepared them for their present jobs. And, the majority (62%) agrees that an undergraduate degree is still necessary for career success.

However, perhaps reflecting shifts in the labor market, fifty-four (54%) also believe that a college degree today is less valuable today than when they graduated.   "With an economy that is doing far more with far fewer, we are in an unprecedented era of a workforce mismatch,” said Ken Kring, Korn Ferry’s co-managing director of the Global Education Practice. “Jobs are being created faster than skills are being developed. It has created the need for a new kind of leader who can adapt on the fly – one that has learning agility. One thing is clear, the exact job a person holds today, will likely be dramatically different within a few years."

Overall a college degree is worth it: Plus, sixty-two percent (62%) believe an undergraduate degree is essential to career success.  When it comes to the value of an advanced degree, seventy-seven percent (77%) responded that a graduate degree is worth the investment.

Executive say job prospects are improving: Sixty-seven percent (67%) said job prospects are better for 2014 graduates versus the graduates of 2013. When asked to compare today’s job prospects against what faced newly minted college grads three years ago, the optimism dipped slightly, with fifty-six percent (56%) seeing things better nowadays.   

Survey results are below:

Do you think that the prospects for 2014 college graduates are better or worse than a year ago?  Than three years ago?      One Year Ago  Three Years Ago Better  67%   56% Worse  33%   44% 

Is a college degree necessary for career success?     Yes  62%  No  38% 

Is it easier or harder for a 2014 college graduate to get a job compared to the year you graduated?    Harder  82% Easier   18%

Do you think your education prepared you for the job you have now?   Yes  87% No  13%

Is a college degree today more or less valuable than it was when you graduated?  More   46% Less   54%

Do you think a graduate degree (doctorate, masters etc.) is worth the investment? Yes  77% No  23%

About Korn Ferry

At Korn Ferry, we design, build, attract and ignite talent. Since our inception, clients have trusted us to help recruit world-class leadership. Today, we are a single source for leadership and talent consulting services to empower businesses and leaders to reach their goals. Our solutions range from executive recruitment and leadership development programs, to enterprise learning, succession planning and recruitment process outsourcing (RPO). Visit http://www.kornferry.com for more information on Korn Ferry, and http://www.kornferryinstitute.com for thought leadership, intellectual property and research.

MEDIA CONTACT Stacy Levyn 310-556-8502 Stacy.Levyn@kornferry.com