Considering the investment — in both time and money — that students and their families put into attaining a college education, it’s pretty daunting that a large number of employers don’t feel confident about the skills today’s graduates possess upon entering the workforce.
According to a 2020 survey by the American Association of Colleges and Universities, just 60 percent of employers think recent college grads have the knowledge and skills to succeed in an entry-level job. What’s more, in a 2019 study from the Society for Human Resource Management, 51 percent of respondents said they don’t believe education systems are doing enough to address the skills gap. In that same survey, 30 percent cited soft skills as being a barrier when looking for candidates to fill openings.
Learning the technical aspects of one’s chosen degree in the classroom is important, but it’s only one component for a successful career. Employers are looking for candidates who can also differentiate themselves by demonstrating skills rarely taught in the classroom, such as creativity, persuasion, collaboration, time management and adaptability.
Within SigEp, brothers not only have the opportunity to develop these soft skills through various leadership positions, but also access to mentors and experienced professionals who can help guide them.
With a network of more than 250,000 living alumni working in a wide range of industries, SigEp is well positioned to help young brothers transition from campus to the workplace and set them up for professional success. Along with the everyday skills developed while building and maintaining highly effective chapters, our executive officer development program and one-on-one Career Coaching with alumni offer undergraduate brothers the opportunity to hone the skills required for success on the job and set themselves apart from other job candidates. Since launching in fall 2020, more than 900 undergrads and 700 alumni coaches have signed up for the program.
Tyler Fairwood, Marquette ’21, participated in Career Coaching and said the coach he was matched with “was extremely helpful and gave great advice on finding a first job out of college.” He added that his coach “had excellent experience and insight into the field I would like to find a career in, and I would certainly value any future advice or conversations we may have.”
Research from Gallup bears out the significance fraternities play in helping men develop the skills they need for employee success. In 2021, the research firm found that 83 percent of members are more confident in their leadership skills because of their fraternity experience. In addition, they’re twice as likely as their non-affiliated peers to say they gained important job-related skills during college, tend to find jobs more quickly and have higher workplace engagement in their post-college careers.
Responsibility to help our brothers doesn’t end when they cross the stage at graduation — the Fraternity is a lifelong commitment. That’s why it matters that SigEp is investing in our young brothers through Career Coaching and leadership programs.
Wendell is a human resources professional who has held various executive leadership roles during his more than 40-year career. He currently is a member of the Maryland General Assembly Compensation Committee, serving at the direction of the governor, and privately provides HR strategic planning consulting to various small and large businesses. He has been a SigEp volunteer for over 35 years and is a founding member of the Fraternity’s Career Coaching Team.