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Are graduates mostly unemployable?

Thousands of graduates will soon take their first steps into the world of work, but a large number lack the necessary skills and experience employers want, according to recruiting experts Hays.

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

“Year after year I listen to concerned employers who are worried that each fresh wave of graduates simply doesn’t possess the skills required to excel in the modern world of work, or even get their foot in the door,” he said. “They’ve spent at least three years racking up debt to study a course that will not help them find a relevant role.”

With skills shortages already evident, as recently identified by the Hays Global Skills Index, failing to address the skills of those leaving education will only exacerbate the situation.

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,” he said. “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.”

As for a possible solution, educational institutes, employers, governments and graduates all have a part to play. Mr Cox says 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,” he said.

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