You may think information about college graduates and new hires has nothing to do with you as an established professional. But I urge you to find out how this is, in fact, directly relevant to you.

A recent article in the WSJ, Your College Major Is a Minor Issue, Employers Say, reported on the results of a survey done where they queried 318 companies that hire new graduates. The results were telling of an era that is quickly becoming the new norm.

Here are some of the key points I see as critical from the survey:

  • 93% of employers cite critical thinking, communication and problem-solving skills as more important than a candidate's undergraduate major.
  • Firms want well-rounded candidates because they're filling positions with broader responsibilities (93%) and more complex challenges (92%) than in the past.
  • 95% of respondents say they prioritize skills that can contribute to innovation.
  • 83% of employers said digital files, or electronic portfolios, would be useful, which is up from 56% in 2008.

Why is this so important to the insurance industry?

Colleges and universities are modifying programs to help graduates excel in these areas to fulfill the wants and needs of employer businesses. But we, the established professionals, didn't necessarily have those benefits when we went through school. If you don't feel you currently excel in these areas yourself, then you need to think about how to get there, and quickly.

Because if these are the types of things that employers are looking for in their new hires, what do you think they're looking for in their business partners and advisors?

Photo by Eli Christman.