More than half of those surveyed (53%) by the Society for Human Resource Management plan to hire members of the class of 2013, but, in a study released this week, many employers expressed concerns about skills gaps between graduates and their needs.

Of the 468 human resources professionals questioned by SHRM, a lack of open positions was the most common reason cited for those who haven’t hired or don’t plan to hire new graduates (68%). Some 20% say graduates are under-qualified for their current, open positions.

Forty-nine percent of organizations feel that new grads lack basic skill and knowledge of writing in English, 18% worry about math proficiency and 13% believe graduates lack English speaking skills. A full half of those surveyed think the class of 2013 lack professionalism and proper work ethic, 44% point to poor business acumen and 35% note sub-par written communication skills.

Even as the number of would-be employees with graduate and post-graduate degrees increases, employers report it is “very difficult” to fill positions in engineering (27%), high-skill tech and programming work (27%) and the skilled trades (26%).

Of those graduates hired, 71% took full-time positions, and 70% were offered salary and benefits commensurate to the past three years.

SHRM’s annual conference begins in three days in Chicago, and EBN Associate Editor Tristan Lejeune will be there for inBrief coverage starting Monday. You can also follow him on Twitter @ebn_Lejeune for live updates. He will be joined be Employee Benefit Adviser Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth Galentine (@EBA_Galentine) and Associate Editor Gillian Roberts (@EBA_Roberts). Read inBrief all next week for stories direct from the event.

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