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Less than half of graduates aren't prepared for work

Nearly half of graduates (47%) said they felt unprepared for work, according to a survey by Work Ready Graduates, an organisation established by Prospects that helps prepare graduates for employment.

Out of the 2,612 employed graduates surveyed 38% found the move from student to employee difficult. When they entered employment they said they found the early stages full of uncertainty (55%) and thought it was hard to begin work (41%).

Only 38% of respondents said working life turned out how they expected.

The majority of graduates reported fitting in well with working life. Most (84%) said they understood how to behave in the workplace and around two-thirds (68%) knew how to ask for help.

However, almost half (41%) were uncomfortable meeting new people and a third (33%) lacked self-confidence when presenting themselves in a work environment. One in four (25%) also felt that they didn’t fit in or know how to deal with colleagues' different personalities.

“It’s important that graduates understand what is expected of them from day one and how they can be the best they can be,” Work Ready Graduates co-founder Kyle Burrows said. 

“We need to build and complement the good work of careers services to develop professionals who have the knowledge and self-confidence to make their first steps on the career ladder a comfortable and happy experience.”   

Respondents said skills that would have been most useful to learn at university were job interview preparation, assertiveness, negotiation, business and influential communication, and business etiquette. 

Claire Ashton, Work Ready Graduates board member and senior associate director for the attraction team at Teach First, said: “Leaving the comforts of university to enter the world of work for the first time can be a daunting prospect. 

“It’s important that graduates feel well equipped to cope with the journey ahead, both professionally and personally. We support initiatives such as Work Ready Graduates, which is working hard to support graduates in their transition from student to employee.”