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Forging Pathways to Purposeful Work: The Role of Higher Education

Discover actionable findings colleges and universities can use to enhance the undergraduate student experience and increase graduates' likelihood of finding both meaning and success in their work.

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Representing the views of more than 2,000 college graduates, 600 hiring managers and 1,000 parents of students who are college bound, in college or who recently graduated from college, this study measures the extent to which college graduates seek and find purpose in their work.

The study identifies four key undergraduate experiences that align with graduates finding purpose in work:

  • Having an applied internship or job
  • Having someone who encourages students' goals and dreams
  • Being given realistic expectations for post-graduation employment prospects
  • Participating in a class/program that helps students think about pursuing meaning in work

The findings also show that employers endorse skills traditionally associated with a liberal arts education. Hiring managers value the following qualities when evaluating a job candidate's readiness for the workforce and feel colleges and universities should focus on developing these in their students:

  • Critical thinking
  • Effective communication
  • Collaboration and working effectively on a team
  • Developing students' curiosity and interest in work that is meaningful to them

Download the report to discover new approaches to equip students with the skills, experiences and self-awareness needed to effectively navigate the complex and competitive future of work and realize professional and personal fulfillment.

Rating World Leaders. The U.S. vs. Germany, China and Russia

Less than half of college graduates succeed in finding purposeful work.

Graduates who align their work with their interests, values and strengths are roughly 3x more likely to experience high purpose in work.

Graduates with high purpose in work are almost 10x more likely to have high overall wellbeing.

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To download Forging Pathways to Purposeful Work: The Role of Higher Education, please fill out the form below to receive an email with a link to a PDF of the report. Someone from Gallup may also contact you via email about your interest in this topic.

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