Is there an employment gap between employers and students?

According to new research, companies expect students to have internships - but don't offer them, and social media background checks appear to be on the rise.

A new study by Millennial Branding,  a Gen-Y research and management consulting firm based in Boston, MA, and Experience Inc. has shed some interesting reflections on whether there is an employment gap between employer and student -- and also just how far background checks online are spreading.

Using a data pool of over 100,000 U.S. companies and 225 employers, the firm collated information  to uncover whether an "employment gap" exists between what companies expect, their business practices, sources of hire for the class of 2012, and whether students have the correct skill requirements to be attractive to employers.

Why are so many graduates currently unemployed? These findings may enlighten us as to some of the issues involved:

  • 91 percent of employers believe that students should have one or two internships before they graduate;
  • However, half of companies have not hired any interns in the last six months.
  • 79 percent of employers have hired 30 percent of interns or less;
  • Furthermore, 87 percent of companies think that internships on average are too short -- rather than two months, they believe it should be a minimum of three.

Dan Schawbel, Founder of Millennial Branding said:

"The expectation that having an internship can lead to a job no longer exists. Employers should hire their interns into full-time positions to save recruiting and training costs. Students should strive to have as many internships as possible before graduation and not rely on a single employer for a job offer."

The issue concerning STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is wide-ranging. There is a shortage of people that are equipped and trained to take on roles in these industries, and the rate of students opting for these choices is declining.

According to the survey, 34 percent are recruiting engineering and computer information systems, and only 18 percent are recruiting finance and accounting trainees. 47 percent said "it’s either hard or very hard" competing against other brands when hiring STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) talent -- possibly due to the overall shortage.

When employers do find the talent they're looking for, just how have they found it? It seems there may be a transition towards social network recruitment strategy -- as an incredibly high 83 percent of hiring has now come from social networking, whereas less than half (48 percent) now use job boards, and only 44 percent rely on referrals.

When social media recruitment takes place, 35 percent conduct background checks online -- if we compare this to ten years ago, it is reasonable to predict this will continue to increase. Out of the employers who admitted to this procedure, 42 percent use LinkedIn, 40 percent use Facebook, 15 percent use Google+ and only 2 percent use Twitter.

For more information, view the infographic below: