Study of top employers highlights skills gap among university leavers

Around one in four senior business managers believes graduates lack the fundamental skills required by businesses, figures show.

A study from Kepner-Tregoe, a global specialist provider of consulting and training services, found 27% of those polled felt there was a fundamental skills gap among people leaving university to embark on business careers.

Furthermore, some 15% of those surveyed suggested the numeracy skills of graduates were below par.

However, despite this the poll of 500 senior business managers found that 35% felt those looking for work after university were failing to get the jobs they deserved.

To this end more than a quarter of those surveyed called graduates 'creative thinkers'.

Martin Wing, managing director for Europe at Kepner-Tregoe, said the findings showed more than a quarter of former students required support from their employers to meet the required skills level.

He added: "The results of our research do not bode well for some new graduates.

"Whilst over two-thirds of managers surveyed believe graduates do have the necessary skills to enter the job market, these perceptions, right or wrong, mean that 27% of the new graduate workforce needs some sort of help, either in developing the right skills or promoting the skills they have in a better way.

"If companies have a strategy in place to both train and integrate new employees into a business, employing graduates can be a hugely beneficial step."

However, he also suggested that employers do see potential in graduate workers, after the study found support for their levels of creativity.

Mr Wing continued: "This skills gap is often a concern for employers. However, according to our research, almost a third of business leaders believe graduates are creative thinkers - a key trait that aids competitiveness in today's marketplace.

"Companies should therefore begin to consider what graduates can do, rather than what they can't.

"By adopting the right capability development strategy, businesses can not only capitalise on an eager workforce, but also nurture new employees into making a valuable contribution to their company."

Copyright Press Association 2012