The survey of recent graduate employers outlines two skills sets that graduates are consistently failing to demonstrate in their interviews. Two in five graduate recruiters (40%) cited business acumen as lacking in today's university leavers, with 22% stating that communication skills were below par. A similar view is held by graduates themselves, with only half believing that their university experience is providing them with the right skills for a post graduation job.
This lack of confidence has lead to almost a quarter (22%) expecting to be unemployed twelve months after leaving university and one-in-ten not recommending Higher Education at all.
Mike Fetters, graduate director at Totaljobs, said: "Much has been made of the lack of graduate jobs available today. However with a 72% increase in jobs available over the past six months, it seems that the real problem is the skills gap for graduates today that seems to be emerging - one that the introduction of student fees could further exacerbate." Overwhelmingly, 83% of graduate recruiters believe a closer collaboration between businesses and universities is needed to fill the skills gap for university leavers today. Interestingly though, they ultimately believe that it is the universities (82%) and graduate themselves (72%) whose responsibility it is to better equip graduates with skills to use in the world of work.
Fetters added: "We have a real chance to champion a collaboration between universities and employers which I believe can really make a difference. With just over half of graduates utilising their careers service and only 34% of those finding it useful, there is an opportunity for employers to work with careers services to better the offering to final-year students." Many graduate recruiters believe that the introduction of student fees will make a considerable difference, with 71% stating this will affect the range and quality of university leavers employers have to choose from. Over half (52%) stated that the UK PLC will suffer in the future due to a decreased pipeline of graduates.
However, the group is split in terms of whether they will offer alternative employment routes, with 48% seeing this as a viable option and 52% keeping to their current graduate employment model. For those that are considering other routes, 61% would take on school leavers and 48% providing vocational training.