Employers Hiring New Grads Seek Leaders, Communicators, Team Players

Employers hiring new college graduates say they are looking for leaders who can work as part of a team and communicate effectively, according to a new report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

When employers participating in NACE’s Job Outlook 2015 survey were asked which attributes they look for on a candidate’s resume, the biggest group of respondents (77.8%) chose both “leadership” and “the ability to work in a team structure.”

employers want leadersThese skills/qualities are followed by “written communication skills,” “problem-solving skills,” “strong work ethic,” and“analytical/quantitative skills.”

Employers Like Leaders

Further evidence that having leadership skills can make or break a hiring decision is that when employers are forced to choose between two equally qualified candidates, they will choose the one with experience in a leadership position over the other. (See Figure 2.)

A student’s academic major and a high GPA are also key determining factors.


About the Job Outlook Survey: The Job Outlook survey is a forecast of hiring intentions of employers as they relate to new college graduates.

Each year, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) surveys its employer members about their hiring plans and other employment-related issues to project the market for new college graduates for the current class and to assess a variety of conditions that may influence that market.

Data for the Job Outlook 2015 survey were collected from August 11, 2014, through October 7, 2014. A total of 260 surveys were returned for a 25% response rate. Of those responding, 18.1%t were from the West, 24.2% represented organizations located in the Northeast, 26.5% were from the Southeast, and 31.2% were from the Midwest.

NACE will update the hiring outlook for the Class of 2015 in April, and will begin reporting on starting salaries for the class in January 2015.

About NACE: Since 1956, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has been the leading source of information about the employment of college graduates. For more information, visit http://www.naceweb.org. NACE maintains a virtual press room for the media at http://www.naceweb.org/press-releases.aspx.

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