Oh, those kids - New grads get dinged over lack of professionalism

HR managers have a real problem with people who text-message someone instead of walking over and having a conversation.

That's one of the messages to come out of a recent survey on workplace professionalism conducted by the Center for Professional Excellence at York College of Pennsylvania. In its annual survey of professionalism in the workplace, the focus is on employers’ experiences with recent college graduates. It surveys (about 400) people responsible for hiring new college graduates on topics related to the professionalism they see in these employees.

The Center says a recurring theme in the research is that new hires demonstrate an annoying sense of entitlement. Abuses of information technology also continue to plague the workplace, surveyed HR managers claim. And half of them say IT abuses are rising. Things that disturb them include text messaging at inappropriate times (74.3%), inappropriate use of the Internet (65.7%), excessive twittering/use of Facebook (65.2%), excessive cell phone use for personal calls (59.7%), and text messaging/emailing when direct conversation is more appropriate (56.1%).

HR managers also griped about the work ethic of new employees. Over 44% of them claim the work ethic has gotten worse -- the only good news here is that about the same percentage think it has remained the same. Among their complaints: Too casual of an attitude towards work (86.6%); employees not being self-driven (71.5%); lack of ownership of one’s work (69.3%); not understanding what hard work is (65.9%); and a willingness to do work that is less than professional quality (59.8%).

Before we get too wound up in all this whining, though, it is useful to remember that complaints about youthful behavior have been around since the days of Aristotle. Machine Design's late great editor Ron Khol had many caustic things to say about the new grads of his day, who, today, are likely among those filling out surveys with complaints about kids:

http://machinedesign.com/article/another-commencement-address-no-one-asked-me-to-give-0522

http://machinedesign.com/article/the-end-of-upward-mobility-1006

http://machinedesign.com/article/sorry-kids-none-of-us-ever-were-guaranteed-lifetime-employment-1023

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Lee Teschler

Leland serves as Editor-in-Chief of Machine Design. He has 34 years of Service and holds a B.S. Engineering from the University of Michigan, a B.S. Electrical Engineering from the University of...
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