University graduates not prepared to enter the workforce

Despite the fact that 95% of UK firms plan to hire recent university graduates this year, only 23% believe that academic institutions are adequately preparing students for vacant roles in their organisations.

This is according to a national survey which was conducted online on behalf of CareerBuilder, which analysed the responses of 400 employers. The research found that more than half (54%) say universities are preparing students for “some roles, but not all,” and 19% don’t believe they are preparing them adequately at all.

49% of employers cited interpersonal or people skills as just one of the skills they think recent graduates lack. Among the other skills lacking in new graduates; 40% of bosses said problem-solving skills, 39% cited creative thinking, 37% stated oral communication and 34% said teamwork.

53% of employers believe there is too much emphasis on book learning instead of 'real world' learning, which is actually hampering graduates' preparation for the workforce.

Furthermore, 42% cited the need for workers with a blend of technical and soft skills, which educational institutes were not teaching students.

Scott Helmes, Managing Director of CareerBuilder UK, says: “Though nearly all UK companies plan to hire recent graduates, the vast majority of these do not feel students are adequately prepared for the workforce.

“This finding underscores the need for companies to work more closely with educational institutes to ensure graduates are developing the skills that growing businesses need.”

Michael Boer, Consultant at Macmillan Davies, takes a different approach and argues that he can decipher whether an individual is ready to work by seeing if they have prepared questions and answers about the role. Speaking exclusively to Recruitment Grapevine he says: “When interviewing graduates, I always look to see if they’ve done their homework on their organisation, role and industry. We always ask the candidates about what they are looking for in their role.

“In addition, appearance and their professionalism are also important. Will they come for informal chat in jeans or put a suit on?”


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