Three in four bosses believe that graduates do not possess the skills necessary to aid a smooth transition into the world of work.
A study commissioned by the Young Enterprise charity found that bosses from major companies including HSBC, Santander and KPMG were concerned about the quality of potential recruits from the graduate talent pool.
When asked to identify which skills graduate recruits were lacking, one said that there were “too many to list”. Chairman of the charity, Ian Smith, revealed that many UK bosses were hiring foreign workers as a result.
“The situation is getting worse because the Department for Education is adopting an alarmingly narrow focus on academic skills and exams,” he told the Daily Mail. This will make it less likely that students emerge from education with these employability skills.” So which skills key to the ‘real world’ should graduates make sure they have?
A good grasp of English
Hopefully essay-writing will have targeted and improved your basic spelling and grammar skills, but being able to write well is also an important skill to have.
This is not something that is exclusive to potential journalists or authors – far from it, in fact. Secretarial work, marketing, communication and translating are just some examples of other sectors which can be heavily writing-focused.
There’s nothing wrong with doing English and French at university and not being too clued-up on the business world – but the research revealed complaints from bosses that thousands of young people arrive at interviews with a complete lack of commercial awareness.
Deemed a “vital employability skill”, the situation can be easily rectified by spending a small chunk of a Sunday curled up on the sofa with the business section of the newspaper.
This includes adopting a friendly attitude towards customers and getting over your fear of answering the telephone – something which one in eight students admitted they felt awkward doing.
Giving presentations and working in a team are also likely to feature in a number of jobs, so make sure you brush up on these skills.Practice presentations in front of friends, family or even pets until you feel at ease, start playing a team sport, make yourself answer the phone every time it rings – all of these can help improve those important communication skills.