The importance of employee attributes for entry-level job success
Boykin, Paul Edgerton
MetadataShow full item record
The quality of the workforce is a key factor that impacts America’s economic strength. U.S. companies continue to stress the need for a high quality workforce to allow them to compete in a global economy and report that finding qualified applicants is sometimes a struggle. The U.S. educational system plays an important role in workforce development as it provides a foundation for young people as they prepare to enter the world of work. Secondary schools are given the challenging task of helping high school students as they transition to college and careers. This transition requires students to adapt to the expectations of the workplace. This correlational study sought to gain a better understanding of the relationship between employers’ expectations of entry-level employees and high school students’ perceptions of the employee attributes that are most important to employers. High school students and employers in Madison County, Georgia were asked to rate the level of importance of 26 employee attributes for entry-level workplace success. Point-biserial correlations were used to examine relationships between responses of students and employers, upperclassmen students and underclassmen students, and students with and without work experience. In addition, employers were asked to share their perceptions of high school graduates’ preparedness for employment and their thoughts on skills or qualities lacking in recent high school graduates. Students and employers agreed that punctuality, maturity, and motivation were the most important attributes listed. Statistically significant correlations were found for multiple attributes. In most cases, these correlations were a result of students rating lower ranked attributes as more important than the employers. Notable findings include students’ underestimation of the level of importance of initiative and enthusiasm in relation to how these attributes were rated by employers. Analysis of responses between upperclassmen and underclassmen students and students with and without work experience revealed few statistically significant correlations.