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Shortage of graduates with sufficient skills


A survey conducted amongst 104 HR Directors/graduate recruiters and sponsored by Park Human Resources and the Guardian has given a snapshot of recruiters' dilemmas.

A decline in the quality of graduates has caused recruitment difficulties

Thirty percent of recruiters felt that recruiting the right calibre of graduates had become harder over the past 12 months. The two key reasons for this difficulty were a decline in the quality of applicants and a shortage of students with suitable skills. A smaller number of recruiters also felt that they struggled to meet students’ career and salary expectations. However, most recruiters felt that the current economic climate had not had a negative effect on their recruitment of graduates.

Recruiters’ action on discrimination doesn’t reflect students' concerns

Ten percent of recruiters set formal targets for recruiting students from ethnic minorities and even fewer set targets for students from other groups, it would therefore seem that diversity issues are not key drivers within graduate recruitment. Unlike ethnic students, substantial proportions of whom are known to be pessimistic about their career prospects, only a third of recruiters see the prospects of ethnic graduates as worse than those of other students.

Do ‘Old Boys’ Networks’ still exist?

When asked to state which universities they preferred to concentrate their recruitment activities on, none of the respondents mentioned a single former polytechnic. Although the choice of courses was the reason given why most employers targeted traditional institutions, one-in-ten recruiters felt that they were under pressure from senior management to target particular universities.

UK graduates likely to face competition from European peers

With over two-thirds of graduate recruiters turning to European countries other than the UK by virtue of their students’ superior communication skills and vocational training it would appear that the UK graduates’ employment prospects are becoming limited.

Evidence for this is provided by the answers to questions such as "Do you agree that degrees themselves have become devalued as a means of measuring employability?" and "Do you agree that graduates are better equipped for the rigours of the modern workplace than non graduates of the same age?".

With 41% of respondents agreeing that degrees have become devalued and only 17% thinking that graduates are better equipped than non-graduates the value of UK graduates begins to be called into question.


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