A majority of employers, 59 percent of larger companies – are having difficulty filling vacancies due to ‘employability skills, of graduates and school leavers and only two percent are happy with the business skills of new starters. ‘Employability skills’ were ranked the most important by the employers, followed by ‘positive attitude’ with ‘foreign language capability’ ranked bottom of the eight factors.
“This could cost the UK £2 billion in GDP as talent is imported from abroad for the best jobs in industry in this country, or, even worse, employers are forced to outsource higher level jobs to other countries to get the talent,” said Professor Carl Lygo, Chief Executive of BPP today. Employers also cited the damage of an instant “fame” culture encouraged by reality type TV programmes for the next generation thinking they can get rich quick by appearing on TV. Also, employers believe that universities have wrongly set the expectations of their students and expressed fears that the current generation of graduates are largely more interested in what a job can do for them rather than considering what they have to offer an employer.
The survey of 127 companies (including HSBC, JP Morgan, the Times, Aviva, Tesco and Deloittes) released today by BPP, the UK’s leading private higher education provider showed that employer satisfaction with the employability skills of newly starting graduates rated as follows: Business Skills – 73 percent of employers were not at all satisfied with the level of skills of new graduates entering the workforce, only two percent were satisfied; Customer Understanding, 71 percent of employers were not at all satisfied with the level of skills of new graduates entering the workforce, only three percent were satisfied; Self Management, 53 percent of employers were not at all satisfied with the level of skills of new graduates entering the workforce, 40 percent were satisfied.
“The answer is partly about ensuring graduates are employable – for example here at BPP we have about a fifth of the bar students in this country, but they go on to take a third of all pupillages,” continued Professor Lygo. “Also, employers are now moving to take more school leavers at the age of 18 and provide higher apprenticeships (this is a work based apprenticeship that combines a degree and apprenticeship training – something being pioneered by the Skills Secretary Matthew Hancock). This is seen as a better way of ensuring the next generation are much more work-ready.”