Survey: New Grads Lack Professionalism

College graduates still have a lot to learn about how to behave in the workplace.

More than a third of human resources professionals and business leaders feel that the majority of recent graduates fail to demonstrate professionalism in the workplace, according to a new survey from the Center for Professional Excellence at York College, Pennsylvania.

In fact, of the more than 400 professionals that the center surveyed, nearly a quarter believe that new graduates behave less professionally this year than last year.

According to the survey, the most common complaints that employers have with the professionalism of recent graduates are that they often fail to accept constructive criticism properly, have difficulty taking personal responsibility for their actions and perhaps most of all, they need to improve their Internet etiquette.

“Some of these problems in the workplace are the same things we are seeing in the classroom,” said David Polk, who runs the Polk Lepson Research Group, which conducted this study on behalf of the center. “Students and employees alike are text messaging, surfing the Internet and responding to cell phone calls at inappropriate times.”

So if you want to be seen as professional at work, stop checking your Facebook account and start adapting to the feedback and criticisms that your bosses provide.

Beyond that, the survey found that employers believe recent graduates feel a stronger sense of entitlement today than they did five years ago.

“Entitlement, defined as expecting rewards without putting in the work or effort to merit the rewards, was the most cited reason (21.5%) for a decline in professionalism over the past five years,” the report found.

Overall, the study found that the vast majority of employers (96.3%) say the level of professionalism of a candidate influences whether they are hired. So the bottom line is that if you want to get a job and keep it, you’ll probably need to ditch these habits and remember that being professional means more than just tucking in your shirt.

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