CMI urges stronger links between employers and business schools

Employers seeking "business-ready" graduates are not working closely enough with business schools to offer suitable work placements, according to a report by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

The report, 21st Century Leaders: Building practice into the curriculum to boost employability, was compiled in conjunction with the Association of Business Schools (ABS) and the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA). It is based on replies from more than 1,000 UK employers and 38 business schools. 

It found that although 89% of respondents agreed embedding work experience within business schools would make students more employable, only 22% currently offer job placements or internships to business school students. 

The report claims that business and management education contributes £3.25 billion to the UK economy, but that many employers are still unaware of its value. Almost one third (31%) do not believe there is a business case for working with universities. 

Only 17% of employers look to business schools to recruit first-time managers, despite 51% saying they have difficulties recruiting managers due to a lack of candidates with appropriate skills. 

CMI director of strategy and external affairs Petra Wilton told HR magazine business schools are a good place for employers to recruit from a truly global talent pool. 

"Many employers don't appreciate the resources that are right on their doorstep," she said. "By building stronger ties with local business schools and communities, they can gain access to people who understand global markets and a variety of working cultures."

Jane Harrington, a member of the ABS executive committee, added that business schools must position themselves as "a key source of talent for employers".

"This report underlines that the curricula must be robust and relevant, enabling students to embrace an innovative, ethical and entrepreneurial ethos and bring this into the workplace," she said.