Employers concerned about lack of skills in young people: Report

by L&D28 Sep 2016
A large number of young people looking to enter the workforce lack the necessary skills and experience employers want, according to Hays.

Indeed, many of today’s graduates may be forced to take on non-graduate roles, said Hays’ CEO Alistair Cox.

“Year after year I listen to concerned employers who are worried that each fresh wave of graduates simply does not possess the skills required to excel in the modern world of work, or even get their foot in the door,” said Cox.

“They’ve spent at least three years racking up debt to study a course that will not help them find a relevant role.”

Skills shortages already evident in the workforce and failing to address the skills of those leaving education will only make the situation worse, according to Hays.

Moreover, another issue is a lack of graduates who gain any practical work experience during their study.

“While employers often look for technical or vocational knowledge first, many students leave university or higher education without any relevant experience because many courses are not geared toward this,” said Cox.

“Yet employers value graduates with experience. Even a few weeks spent in the industry or sector they ultimately wish to enter puts graduates ahead of other candidates without such experience.”

Educational institutes, employers, governments and graduates all have a part to play in finding a solution, added Cox.

“Better careers advice needs to be provided within educational institutions so that students can consider all options before making an informed decision on their future,” he said.

“Our political leaders should encourage universities to focus on providing the skills that will be vital to driving employment, businesses and the economy.”

Cox suggested another potential solution is to make the high-employability courses and institutions free or cheaper, such as those offering training in STEM-related jobs. This would also incentivise younger people into taking such courses.

He also said that businesses can do more to ensure educational institutes are producing the skills needed.

“Business leaders should be approaching top colleges and universities, asking how they can help prepare the future workforce and informing them which areas their business is struggling to recruit in,” said Cox.

Cox added that it’s also the responsibility of young people to focus on obtaining a skills set that is relevant to the world of work and that will benefit them.

“We need to be encouraging our young people to consider the future jobs market before choosing what to study,” he said.