As many young people head off to university for the first time, a new CMI report has highlighted the continued importance of graduating ‘ready for hire’ in the post-pandemic work landscape.
Work-ready Graduates: Building Employability Skills for a Hybrid World brings together new research and up-to-date feedback from academics in higher education institutions (HEIs), UK businesses and undergraduate students.
Among the key findings:
- All students need to develop employability and career management skills.
- Nearly 80% of employers believe graduates aren’t work-ready on entering the employment market.
- There are 11 skills that would boost graduate employability… but only 27% of students can confidently demonstrate them.
- Students on non-business related courses say university equips them with just two of the 11 key employability skills.
- Employability skills must be underpinned with general career management support, something currently lacking – with only 28% of students completely confident about how to search for jobs; 25% completely confident about applying for a job; and a mere 18% completely confident about how to write a CV.
- Meanwhile, just under one-third (29%) of students do not believe their university offers support in developing career management skills.
- Students need to stand out in a digital and hybrid world, but only 41% of non-business students have a LinkedIn account and just 29% of all students are interested in showing their qualifications via digital badging.
- CMI is calling on government and universities to recognise the value of these core skills and embed them – as well as career management skills – in all skills and training provision.
In more detail
The report identifies 11 key employability skills that employers agree are critical in equipping graduates to progress in the workplace. These are: team-working; critical thinking and problem-solving; communication; self management; flexibility and adaptability; initiative and self-direction; digital skills; resilience; emotional intelligence; innovation and creativity and entrepreneurial skills.
However, CMI found just over one in four (27%) of students are completely confident they can demonstrate these skills, while nearly 80% of employers believe graduates do not arrive in the work-place with the skills they need to be work-ready.
CMI recommends the following actions to enhance employability:
- Provide all students access to core employability skills, regardless of their degree course.
- Ensure students are able to measure and track their employability skills gain.
- Ensure students can showcase their employability skills in an increasingly digital workplace.
- Use existing and emerging national and regional networks to connect students and employers.
We’ve talked to employers to find out what they want, and the answer is clear: ‘ready-for-hire’ all-rounders with real-world skills.Matt Swarbrick, Director of Partnerships
Additional analysis of the most recent Graduate Outcomes survey has demonstrated that professional accreditation boosts employability. The analysis found that nearly two-thirds (64%) of graduates with CMI-accredited degrees were in highly skilled roles 15 months after graduating, compared to 57% of graduates with non-accredited business degrees.
Graduates on CMI-accredited courses enjoyed an average 8% boost in terms of their salaries 15 months after graduation, equating to an additional £2,000 compared to those on non-accredited business courses.
“We’ve talked to employers to find out what they want,” adds Matt Swarbrick, Director of Partnerships, “and the answer is clear: ‘ready-for-hire’ all-rounders with real-world skills. Dual-accredited courses, offered by academic institutions in partnership with professional bodies, deliver this.”
“Our message to prospective students is this: if you want to earn more money and enjoy better career prospects, do a dual-accredited course."
"To higher education institutions we say offer dual-accredited courses as it will give you a strong graduate employment record and make you more attractive to prospective students."
"And to governments across the UK, we say look at the evidence: dual-accredited degrees deliver the best results for students and for employers – and can help our communities to build back better in the wake of the pandemic.”
Read the full report here.
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