2012 Global Employability Survey by International Herald Tribune

The 2012 Global Employability Survey, which is being released exclusively in the International Herald Tribune, characterized the ideal young candidate on the basis of skills, personal qualities and the schools they attended. The study, a collaboration of Emerging, a French consulting firm, and Trendence, a German research institute specializing in recruitment, asked hundreds of companies what they looked for when hiring recent graduates, regardless of their course of study.

The study also asked employers what universities produced the ideal young graduates.

The Emerging/Trendence survey was conducted in two waves. Initially, 2,500 recruiters in 20 countries were asked to complete a personalized online survey designed to characterize the ideal new graduate.

Several months later, more questions were asked of top recruiters from 10 countries deemed to be active employers. Those supplementary interviews resulted in the list of the top 150 global institutions in terms of graduate employability.

In ranking the importance of second languages, aside from English, recruiters responded that they appreciated Chinese, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Arabic, Italian, Russian and Portuguese, in that order.

Global recruiters also listed the countries that produced the best graduates: the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, Japan, Canada, India, China, France, Australia and Switzerland.

The quality portion of the survey found that international recruiters appreciated soft skills like adaptability, communications and the “ability to work in a team,” more than leadership qualities or “the ability to work under pressure.”

Steffen Laick, a top recruiter at Ernst & Young, the accounting firm, agreed that the ability to work with a team was important. Besides a strong and focused academic record, he also looked at extracurricular activities.

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