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ICAPP Surveys Business and Educational Climate for Georgia’s Technology Companies

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University System and Its Graduates Receive High Marks for Performance

Atlanta — October 25, 2000

In a survey of technology business leaders conducted by the University System of Georgia’s Intellectual Capital Partnership Program (ICAPP), employers identified critical thinking skills, the ability to work in teams and oral communication skills as the most-valued qualities sought in potential employees.

Of six identified skills and qualities, computer skills ranked fourth in importance among respondents, at 52 percent. Critical thinking skills, however, ranked 78 percent, and the ability to work in teams and oral communication both ranked at 60 percent.

The ICAPP-commissioned survey – which was conducted solely on the Internet this past spring – solicited responses from the membership of the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), a professional association representing the state’s technology businesses. Over 170 technology executives responded. Dr. Roger Tutterow, director of the Econometric Center in the Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University, conducted the survey. Tutterow will present his findings today to an audience of high-tech leaders, at an ICAPP-sponsored workshop held at the 2000 Georgia Technology Forum – a major event for the state’s technology community sponsored annually by TAG, at the Cobb Galleria Center in Smyrna, Ga.

ICAPP will further leverage its participation in the Technology Forum this week, when more than 250 of the University System of Georgia’s students present their skills and talent to potential employers on Thursday afternoon – a first-time invitation by conference planners. The students will help raise the profile of the University System’s rapidly growing on-line recruitment service, called GeorgiaHire.com, by interviewing with participating high-tech firms and sharing hard copies of their resumes – which are available electronically on the website. GeorgiaHire.com, another ICAPP initiative, offers one-stop access for Georgia employers to the hundreds of thousands of USG students and alumni seeking employment, as well as a site for employer jobs postings.

Over 83 percent of Georgia’s technology businesses assessed the quality of the University System as “excellent,” “very good” or “good,” when asked to state their overall impression. The same amount of respondents (83 percent) rated USG graduates in the exact same manner for the quality of their computer skills. More than 80 percent of the respondents had employed graduates of the University System, and they used this personal knowledge of their performance to rate their preparation in critical skills.

When hiring a new employee to work in the information systems arena, 74 percent of the technology employers who responded said that they “strongly agree” or “agree” that they would prefer to hire a graduate of a science or technology school for such a position. Contrastingly, only 41 percent said the same about a graduate of a business school, and 20 percent responded similarly regarding a graduate of a liberal arts program. At the same time, however, more than 76 percent of respondents either “strongly agreed” or “agreed” that courses in liberal arts are a valuable part of an employee’s education.

Clearly, surveyed high-tech employers are more impressed with their employees’ technical skills than they are with their communication ability. More than 60 percent of responding employers either “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that their current employees “have adequate technical skills but need stronger communication skills.” Conversely, 57 percent either “disagreed” or “strongly disagreed” that their employees have adequate communication skills, but need stronger technical skills.

Respondents rated Georgia as a “favorable climate in which to do business.” The most frequently cited factors that make Georgia a desirable location for businesses are its position as a regional hub, the overall business climate and access to an airport or port. Transportation, viewed more positively as an asset in previous ICAPP surveys, decreased in its assessment as an asset – perhaps largely due to the increased number of Atlanta-based businesses participating in the survey (dismayed with metropolitan traffic woes) and fewer goods-producing respondents.

The University System of Georgia and ICAPP use data collected from business leader surveys and workforce assessments to drive academic programming and other strategic initiatives. For example, less than 5 percent of the survey respondents reported familiarity with GeorgiaHire, yet, when given a description of the on-line recruitment tool, over 49 percent said they would be likely to utilize the service. More resources are being expended to increase the visibility of the web-based job directory, such as the marketing efforts taking place at this week’s TAG Technology Forum.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Full copies of this report may be downloaded from the ICAPP website at: http://www.icapp.org/pubs/

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