Nearly a fifth of university graduates "not ready for the workplace"

Nearly a fifth of university graduates

Nearly a fifth of graduates are not ready for the workplace, according to a new report, with HR managers considering they miss crucial skills.

The findings come from report commissioned by Pearson Business School surveying 1012 alumni, who have graduated in the last five years, and 531 senior HR managers from across the UK.

In general, however, HR managers believe that recently employed graduates do arrive into the workplace well equipped with teamwork skills (76%), problem solving (76%), communication skills (75%) and research skills (75%).

Roxanne Stockwell, Principal of Pearson College London, said: “These results show that employers are increasingly looking for applicants who have developed employability skills and have gained experience whilst studying for their degree. There have been great gains in recent years in integrating higher education with industry, but clearly there is still more to be done. Educational institutions need to collaborate with business in order to ensure students develop skills such as leadership and negotiation in order to enhance the employability of today’s young workforce. The survey shows that there is an appetite for this among both students and employers.”

The survey results correspond with a joint report by the CBI and Pearson Plc, Education and learning for the modern world, which found that two fifths (40%) of employers are either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the wider character, behaviors, and attributes of school and college leavers. While one third (33%) are either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied by the amount of relevant work experience young people have.

The new research also looked at the links between studies, work experience and graduates subsequent career choice. While studying at university, three quarters (75%) of graduates said that they had undertaken work experience, either paid or voluntary, but less than half (49%) of graduates said their current work is directly linked to their studies.

Businesses also view relevant work experience as vital for applicants. Over three in five (61%) of HRs said that relevant work experience was more important than the grades achieved by graduates, while 48% of HRs said that relevant work experience is very important when recruiting employees, alongside demonstrable interest in the type of work (67%) and performance in an interview (60%).

Roxanne added: “In a competitive graduate marketplace, firms are increasingly looking for applicants who have real world experience of the workplace. Higher Education institutions need to do more to give students the chance to gain the workplace experience that is vital in today’s job market through building strong links with local businesses and leaders in the industry.”

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