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Top Two Qualities Employers Look for in New Graduates: Taking Initiative and Working Hard and Responsibly

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Employment Service Division

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The job hunting season is coming again and many new graduates are entering the job market. What exactly are the qualities employers/companies look for in new graduates when hiring? According to the “2017 Survey of Competency for New Graduates” conducted by the Workforce Development Agency, Ministry of Labor, 97.61% of companies are willing to hire new graduates and their two favorite qualities in new graduates are being proactive, and working hard and responsibly. Their least-favorite quality is phoning in their work .


It is inevitable for new graduates to go through a period of adaptation. “TaiwanJobs WDA” conducted a survey of their members to obtain their evaluations of new graduates’ work performance, EQ and overall competitiveness from their past experience in hopes of helping new graduates adapt to their new workplaces. According to the results, 7 points (28.17%), 6 points (27.81%) and 5 points (24.36%) were given by most members to new graduates. If we convert them to an arithmetic mean, the average score for new graduates’ work performance is 6.08.


Companies that gave 7 (or less) points to new graduates suggest that what new graduates need to avoid are “phoning in their work ” (56.35%), “never actively reporting any problems” (52.42%) and “never taking the initiative to learn anything and being lazy” (45.46%), indicating that laziness and a bad attitude at work cause the most grief to hiring companies. 63.15% of the companies are willing to give “1-3 months” to new graduates to adapt to their new workplaces, in the meantime, they also suggest that new graduates should report their problems and ask for help in a timely manner, make notes as often as necessary in order to familiarize themselves with their work and learn from their senior colleagues.


What qualities in new graduates do hiring companies like the most? According to the results of the survey, “being proactive and giving” (64.66%) are their favorite qualities, next are “working hard and responsibly and not being afraid of difficulties” (62%) and “being articulate and having good communication skills” (55.62%). From the results, we know being proactive is definitely a must-have quality in new graduates; furthermore, being responsible is another important indicator for management when observing new graduates. So, for new graduates, it is recommended that they don’t pass the buck or be afraid of difficulties, listen more than they speak, speak up when they have a question, observe more, do more, complain less and always stay humble and do their best to complete the work assigned to them without giving up half-way or passing the buck. Only by doing so can they shoulder more responsibilities and further improve themselves in their workplaces.


In addition to having a good attitude at work, new graduates also need to work on managing both their emotions and their stress. Close to 40% (38.71%) of companies in the survey gave “5 (less) points” to new graduates’ EQ. Among things new graduates need to improve are “low pressure-resistance and low frustration tolerance ” at the top (61.89%), “complaining all the time and quitting easily ” are next (41.06%) and “showing no respect for work (not being punctual, taking days off all the time)” (39.98%) comes third. It is inevitable for new graduates to encounter frustration at work, but when facing problems, what they should do first is look closely at it, find the causes and look for solutions instead of complaining or quitting because doing so does not help solve any problems. The staff at the Workforce Development Agency recommends that new graduates consider frustration as a way of training.  New graduates who are always persistent, not afraid of frustrations, seldom complain and do their best will also improve their resistance to pressure.


“The 2017 Survey of Competency for New Graduates” was conducted from May, 9th – 31st, 2017 via phone interviews. Among returned samples, 1,129 are effective.