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Prospective accountancy graduates not up to scratch

Published: Tuesday, 14 February 2012   Category: All Graduate Jobs News | All Graduate job news

A new study from Ernst and Young has revealed the reality of graduates looking for employment within the financial sector.

A recent survey of 1,000 UK students looking for employment with accountancy firm Ernst and Young produced some fascinating conclusions. 

Ernst and Young said that a good degree no longer guaranteed a job these days. On top of this, the firm added that only a quarter (25%) of graduates they polled had the skills actually needed to work for their firm.

Despite these - rather negative - results, figures from the study also revealed that the vast majority of students – almost 9 out of ten (87%) - are optimistic about achieving their career aspirations.

The right skills for accountancy graduate jobs

Every year, Ernst and Young receive 18,000 applicants for 800 graduate trainee placements and 700 internships. The accounting firm used a psychological assessment to test 60 characteristics needed for working in such a competitive company.

Among all the categories, British students were scored best in areas such as problem solving, taking pride in their work and being true to themselves. Building relationships and having a sense of humour were also professional strengths among the UK students. 

In contrast, the survey showed that young Brits entering into the job market might find it difficult to recover from set-backs, didn’t manage their time efficiently, and were not too good at making themselves stand out from the crowd, overcoming fears or taking risks.

"Relationship development and problem solving are key attributes that we look for in our trainees. But the candidates who end up with job offers also demonstrate determination and resilience, and are able to work hard and thrive in difficult situations,” stated Head of recruitment for Ernst and Young, Stephen Isherwood.

"We need to know that they are going to be able to cope if they are sent half way across the world to work on a client project."

Do you agree with the results of this study? Do you think university degrees prepare students adequately for the demands of graduate employment?

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