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Fulfilling the American dream: Liberal education and the future of work – Selected findings from online surveys of business executives and hiring managers

The report summarizes selected findings from two parallel national surveys – one of 501 business executives at private sector and nonprofit organizations and another of 500 hiring managers whose current job responsibilities include recruiting, interviewing, and/or hiring new employees. Both executives and hiring managers express a higher degree of confidence in colleges and universities than does the American public. They also agree upon the value of college and believe that it is both important and worth the investment of time and money., Additionally, consistent with findings from six earlier surveys commissioned by AAC&U as part of its ongoing Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) initiative, employers overwhelmingly endorse broad learning and cross-cutting skills as the best preparation for long-term career success. When hiring, executives and hiring managers place a high priority on graduates’ demonstrated proficiency in skills and knowledge that cut across majors, and hiring managers are closely aligned with executives in the importance that they place on key college learning outcomes. The college learning outcomes that both audiences rate as most important include oral communication, critical thinking, ethical judgment, working effectively in teams, written communication, and the real-world application of skills and knowledge.