One in five firms prefers school leavers to graduates

One in five firms prefers school leavers to graduates

One in five employers believe school-leavers make better workers than university graduates, according to new research. From Telegraph Jobs.

A survey among 1,000 firms by recruitment giant Adecco found that over half argued that university graduates had unrealistic expectations of working life and one in three believed that the education system was failing to equip young people with the skills required by British businesses.

Adecco called on the education system, employers and the Government to tackle ''substantial shortcomings'' in workplace skills.

Newcomers to the world of work were found to be most lacking in interpersonal and computer skills, while one in four employers reported a lack of basic literacy and numeracy skills among graduate recruits.

Chris Moore, of Adecco Group, said: ''Undeniably, Britain has one of the best and most advanced education systems in the world but it must deliver a talented, reliable graduate workforce that brings demonstrable value to UK plc. On a significant scale, employers believe it is failing to do that.

''Although extremely valuable, a strong academic record is no longer a sufficient prerequisite for entry into today's working environment. Employers now hold attitude and personality in greater esteem than academic or even vocational qualifications when assessing new recruits.

"Collectively, we - the Government, businesses and educators - must work together and take full responsibility for developing skills in line with commercial needs.

''Financial acumen, communications techniques and a full appreciation of the attitude required to excel in the commercial world must now form a core part of curricula. We have to listen to employers who are telling us that our education system has to ensure soft skills are valued alongside an emphasis on academic excellence.''

The research found nearly half of graduates themselves admitted that their degree failed to provide the right skills to enter the world of work.

Key deficiencies cited by employers were interpersonal skills and IT skills, with a quarter even reporting a lack of basic literacy and numeracy among graduate recruits.

In addition, few bosses believed that younger employees compared favourably with their older colleagues in areas such as timekeeping, productivity, teamwork, working long hours, going “the extra mile” or showing loyalty.

However, younger workers were spoken of more positively when it came to entrepreneurial spirit and being “drivers for change”.

The survey comes at a tough time for graduates looking for work, with analysis last week showing that a third of new graduate jobs this year will go to students who have already worked for the employer – a record high.

In June, former Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy said poor standards in schools and universities left youngsters ill-prepared for work.

He said universities focus too much on research at the expense of teaching.

This article was originally featured on

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Share this article

Any questions? Any comments?

Your instant reactions to this article can be posted here.

Be the first to make a comment...