Employers’ Expectations of University Graduates as They Transition into the Workplace


  • Michael Cheang Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Hawaii at Manoa, United States
  • Georgia Lynn Yamashita Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Hawaii at Manoa, United States


Soft Skills, Employability Skills, Work Readiness


Research on work readiness indicates employers are increasingly pointing out that soft skills are as important as discipline specific knowledge and technical skills when hiring recent university graduates. However, many university students think excellent grades are the main reason they get the jobs. The disconnect between what employers expect and what students imagine is significant to the extent that many recent university graduates are unable to be employed in the jobs they want, and many employers have challenges dealing with recent university graduates who are not work ready. In 2018, a soft skills pilot study was conducted with internship supervisors who work with the Human Development and Family Studies Program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. An online survey was sent to 65 internship supervisors, and three focus group sessions were conducted as a follow-up of the survey. In 2019, Phase 2 of this study polled 76 employers who participated in a university career fair on what soft skills they expect university graduates to have at the time of hiring. This paper reports on findings to two questions: 1) What employers think of undergraduate university students who have completed an internship with them, and 2) What soft skills employers expect of recent university graduates who are transitioning into the workplace. Findings indicate that in addition to soft skills, employers also regard personal attributes and qualities as equally important at the time of hire.


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How to Cite

Cheang, M., & Yamashita, G. L. (2023). Employers’ Expectations of University Graduates as They Transition into the Workplace. European Journal of Education, 6(2), 22–32. Retrieved from https://revistia.org/index.php/ejed/article/view/6112