Businesses crying out for key skills in the workforce

Employers want the education system to provide better preparation for young people, who lack key skills when they come to the workplace. A recent skills survey by CBI/Pearson education, Gateway to Growthhas found that 61% of companies surveyed (of which there were 291, employing nearly 1.5 million people) are concerned by the resilience and self-management of school leavers. A further concern was raised by some companies over young peoples’ attitude to work. Despite these worries over skills, nearly all of those firms surveyed (96%) were happy with the IT abilities that young people entering their workplace possessed.

The report also found that many young people leave education without clear knowledge of these chosen careers, or relevant work experience to support their job applications in the future. Firms are worried that this skills gap is worsening – 58% of them are not confident that they will have sufficiently skilled staff to fill their roles in the coming years, and many anticipate consequent problems with recruitment.

CBI Director-General, John Cridland, has said:

“Businesses feel very strongly that the education system must better prepare young people for life outside the school gates, or risk wasting their talents… The journey from school towards the world of work can be daunting, so we must support schools and teachers to help develop the skills, character and attitudes students need to progress in life… We need young people who are rigorous, rounded and grounded, and business stands ready to play its part.”

To support this transition from education to the workplace, many businesses are prepared to play a role, with 66% saying that they were willing to support and develop school careers services. 80% of businesses have already forged some links with at least one school of further education college in order to support them.

The CBI is also urging Ofsted to initiate reforms that will mean that academic progress and the development of character are prioritised in schools. They have challenged the view that a purely academic path is the best route to success, and have emphasised that a combination of skills, experience and academia are necessary to develop the best employees. Cridland anticipates long-term effects on the UK economy if this “crisis in UK skills” is not dealt with.

Partnerships between businesses and universities have also been encouraged, with 70% of business already having developed some links with universities. Almost half of the firms surveyed say they are looking to further grow these ties in the future.

What is clear from these findings is that employers are increasingly looking for employees with a range of skills, experiences and academic qualifications, and not just qualifications alone. Businesses are keen for these skills to be developed earlier, rather than later, and is important that careers departments realise the fluidity of the labour market which is constantly seeing new sectors and markets developed.

Gradintel profiles give students the perfect opportunity to demonstrate to employers their skills and experience, as well as their academic credentials. Those students and graduates who come from one of our partner universities will be pre-registered for an account by their universities, and their academic qualifications will be recorded in the verified form of the Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR). Other skills and achievements gained whilst at university also have the potential to be stored here, and these can demonstrate to employers the breadth of what a candidate has to offer.

Equally, students from other institutions can self-register and report their achievements fully on their profiles. This student and graduate data is then searchable by employers who desire certain characteristics in their new recruits.

Find out more about finding candidates through Gradintel here. If you are a student or graduate (who has not already been registered by your university), and you wish to be tagged for some exciting graduate opportunities – sign up for a free account here.

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