Institute of Directors skills briefing December 2007

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1 Institute of Directors skills briefing December 2007 Graduates employability skills 1. Introduction Previous surveys of IoD members have shown a high demand for graduates within the organisations they represent. The research has also shown that the majority of those organisations employing graduates have been happy with the quality of the graduates they recruit. Nevertheless, there is also anecdotal evidence to suggest that employers find graduates can lack some of the more generic and transferable skills needed for employment, and an increasing number of universities are beginning to focus more explicitly on developing students wider employability skills. To establish members latest experience in this area, the IoD commissioned GfK NOP to survey a representative sample of 500 directors in October The survey sought to identify which additional skills and qualities are particularly valued in graduate, and how prevalent they are in recent graduate recruits. It also sought members views on the preparedness for employment of young people generally. The results are presented below. For the purposes of the survey employability skills was taken to mean the skills, attributes and abilities other than technical competence that make an employee an asset to their employer. 2. Summary Preparedness for employment Only 25% of IoD members surveyed thought that young people generally (both graduates and non-graduates) were well prepared for employment. 32% considered them neither prepared nor unprepared, and 40% thought them unprepared. 1 Fieldwork was conducted between 02 and 15 October The sample used and the number of telephone interviews that took place were structured to reflect the composition of the IoD s membership in terms of organisation size, economic sector and geographical location. After interviewing, weighting takes place to correct any imbalance in the sample and to ensure the results are representative of the IoD s membership as a whole. Percentages are rounded throughout this paper and therefore may add to just over or under 100%. Absolute figures and percentages aggregated across sub-samples may not add exactly to the total or 100% due to weighting. 1

2 90% of IoD members believe the education system (schools, colleges and universities) should do more to prepare young people for the world of work. 89% also believe that businesses should play a greater role in developing young people s employability skills. 51% of IoD members organisations are currently involved in such activities, for example through offering work experience placements. Employment of, and satisfaction with, graduates 52% of the directors surveyed said that their organisation employed recent graduates taken to mean those who had graduated within the past 5 years. 71% of organisations employing recent graduates were satisfied with their overall quality. 12% were dissatisfied. 68% were satisfied with the occupational and technical knowledge and skills of their organisation s graduate i.e. the knowledge and skills associated with their degree discipline. 9% were dissatisfied. 55% were satisfied with the wider employability skills of their organisation s graduate. 18% were dissatisfied. The employability skills employers look for in graduates When recruiting, 64% of directors said recent graduates employability skills were more to their organisation as an employer than the specific occupational, technical or academic knowledge/skills associated with the graduate s degree. The survey invited views on the desirability of 28 different employability skills, incorporating basic skills, general employment skills, people and social skills, and personal qualities and skills. The top ten skills and qualities IoD members rated as being most for recent graduates to possess were: 1. Honesty and integrity; 2. Basic literacy skills; 3. Basic oral communication skills (e.g. telephone skills); 4. Reliability; 5. Being hardworking and having a good work ethic; 6. Numeracy skills; 7. A positive, can do attitude; 8. Punctuality; 9. The ability to meet deadlines; and 10. Team working and co-operation skills. Although these were the top ten, almost all of the 28 skills listed were rated by more than 70% of directors as being quite or very for recent graduates to possess. 2

3 Recent graduates possession of employability skills Having established the importance attached to the range of employability skills, employers of recent graduates were asked the extent to which the skills were demonstrated. Broadly speaking, IoD members are particularly impressed with their graduate recruits honesty and integrity, ICT skills, reliability and ability to team work. The proportion considering recent graduates always or often demonstrated these skills was 93%, 85%, 85% and 82% respectively. Over three quarters of graduate employers also considered recent graduates always or often demonstrated a positive attitude (79%), a good work ethic (77%) and punctuality (77%). The basic skills were also among the most frequently demonstrated by recent graduates. However, it is worrying that the proportion of employers saying that graduates only occasionally or never showed literacy and numeracy skills was as high as 18% and 21% respectively. Foreign language skills (21% always/often ), leadership skills (31% always/often ) and business acumen (32% always/often ) were among the employability skills graduate employers witnessed least frequently. Looking at the difference between the proportion of directors rating a skill and proportion of graduate employers saying recent graduates demonstrated it always or often, the largest gaps were seen in relation to business acumen (-41%), leadership (-41%), decision making (-42%) and influencing/negotiating skills (-42%). Of the ten employability skills rated most for graduates to possess, the ability to meet deadlines suffered from the greatest gap when translated into practice. 98% of all the directors polled said this was an skill for graduates to have, but only 66% of graduate employers thought recent graduates demonstrated the ability always or often. Training to develop employability skills 77% of the organisations that employed recent graduates provided specific training in employability skills. The employability skills in which specific training was most commonly provided were leadership and management, team working, communication and presentation skills. 89% of all the directors surveyed thought it for universities also to seek to cultivate students wider employability skills in addition to developing their academic skills and knowledge, with 71% (354) considering it very. 3

4 3. Young people s preparedness for employment Although the October survey focused predominately on graduates, members were also asked for their views on the preparedness for employment of young people generally i.e. both graduates and non-graduates. Only a quarter (25% (127)) believed that young people were well prepared or very well prepared. A fifth (40% (202)) considered them to be unprepared or very unprepared for employment. IN YOUR EXPERIENCE, HOW PREPARED ARE YOUNG PEOPLE GENERALLY (BOTH GRADUATES AND NON-GRADUATES) FOR EMPLOYMENT? 2 Very well prepared 3% (14) Well prepared 23% (113) Neither prepared nor unprepared 32% (158) Unprepared 35% (175) Very unprepared 5% (27) Don t know 3% (14) Total: Prepared 25% (127) Total: Unprepared 40% (202) Balance -15% (-76) Perceptions of how prepared young people were for the world of work varied slightly according to organisation size. Members from the smallest organisations represented in the survey were less likely to consider young people ready for employment than their counterparts in large organisations. Nearly half (46% (121)) of directors from organisations employing between 1 and 25 thought young people unprepared, compared to a quarter (26% (24)) of directors from organisations with 201 or more staff. PERCEPTIONS OF YOUNG PEOPLE S PREPAREDNESS FOR EMPLOYMENT, BY SIZE OF ORGANISATION 1-25 [260] [45] [35] [30] 201+ [130] Total: 19% (49) 30% (14) 24% (9) 28% (8) 36% (47) prepared Total: 46% (121) 34% (15) 54% (19) 45% (13) 26% (34) unprepared Balance -27% (-71) -4% (-2) -29% (-10) -17% (-5) 10% (13) Given the generally low proportion of directors believing young people are well prepared for their future working lives, it is no surprise that an overwhelming majority (90%) considers that the education system should do more to ready them for employment. 2 There were 500 respondents to this question. 4

5 TO WHAT EXTENT WOULD YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE THAT THE EDUCATION SYSTEM (INCLUDING SCHOOLS, COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES) SHOULD DO MORE TO PREPARE YOUNG PEOPLE FOR THE WORLD OF WORK? 3 Strongly agree 65% (323) Agree 25% (126) Neither agree nor disagree 7% (34) Disagree 3% (14) Strongly disagree 1% (4) Total: Agree 90% (449) Total: Disagree 4% (18) Balance 86% (431) However, equally striking is the fact that an almost identical proportion believes that business should play a greater role in developing young people s employability skills. Only 3% (17) of the directors surveyed disagreed with the proposition that businesses could help more by engaging with schools, colleges and universities. TO WHAT EXTENT WOULD YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE THAT BUSINESSES SHOULD PLAY A GREATER ROLE IN DEVELOPING YOUNG PEOPLE S EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS, FOR EXAMPLE BY ENGAGING WITH SCHOOLS, COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES AND BY OFFERING WORK EXPERIENCE OPPORTUNITIES? 4 Strongly agree 52% (260) Agree 37% (187) Neither agree nor disagree 7% (35) Disagree 2% (12) Strongly disagree 1% (4) Don t know 0% (1) Total: Agree 89% (447) Total: Disagree 3% (17) Balance 86% (431) Over half of members said that their organisation was currently involved in initiatives to help develop the employability skills of those in education. This is a creditably high proportion. Nevertheless, there is a noticeable gap between the proportion of directors believing businesses could do more to shape young people s employability and the proportion whose organisations are actively involved in doing so. Evidently, there will always be practical obstacles for organisations to overcome, particularly smaller organisations, in order to increase their links with schools, colleges and universities. That said, the gap only serves to illustrate the potential of increasing employer engagement with education. 3 There were 500 respondents to this question. 4 There were 500 respondents to this question. 5

6 IS YOUR ORGANISATION CURRENTLY INVOLVED IN ANY INITIATIVES TO HELP DEVELOP THE EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS OF THOSE IN EDUCATION (FOR EXAMPLE BY ENGAGING WITH SCHOOLS, COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES OR BY OFFERING WORK EXPERIENCE OPPORTUNITIES ETC)? 5 Yes 51% (255) No 49% (243) Don t know 0% (2) 5 There were 500 respondents to this question. 6

7 4. Employment of, and satisfaction with, recent graduates Employment of recent graduates Of the 500 directors interviewed, 52% (259) said that their organisation employed recent graduates, defined for the purposes of the survey as those who had graduated from university within the past five years. DOES YOUR ORGANISATION EMPLOY RECENT GRADUATES? 6 Yes 52% (259) No 48% (241) EMPLOYMENT OF RECENT GRADUATES, BY SIZE OF ORGANISATION 1-25 [260] [45] [35] [30] 201+ [130] Yes 28% (74) 60% (27) 68% (24) 71% (21) 87% (113) No 72% (186) 40% (18) 32% (11) 29% (9) 13% (17) The motivation for these organisations recruitment of recent graduates was fairly evenly split between those wanting to harness specific technical knowledge and skills developed during the graduate s degree (44%); and those believing that possessing a degree in any discipline was a signal that the graduate had the allround intellectual ability required by the organisation (48%). THINKING ABOUT THE FACTORS PROMPTING YOUR ORGANISATION TO RECRUIT RECENT GRADUATES, WOULD YOU SAY IT WAS PRIMARILY? 7 To harness the specific technical and 44% (114) occupational knowledge and skills brought by graduates, developed during their degree studies Because possessing a degree in any 48% (125) discipline is a signal that the graduate has the all-round intellectual ability required by the organisation Other 7% (18) Don t know 1% (3) Directors from the smallest organisations in our survey were more likely to recruit recent graduates in order to harness specific technical and occupational knowledge and skills, while directors from the largest organisations were more likely to take the possession of a degree as a more general signal of the calibre of recruit required. 6 There were 500 respondents to this question. 7 There were 259 respondents to this question, i.e. those organisations employing recent graduates. 7

8 FACTORS PROMPTING RECRUITMENT OF RECENT GRADUATES, BY SIZE OF ORGANISATION 1-25 [74] [27] [24] [21] 201+ [113] Harness specific technical and occupational knowledge/skills A degree signals the graduate has the all-round ability required 51% (37) 51% (14) 37% (9) 42% (9) 40% (45) 35% (26) 44% (12) 56% (13) 58% (12) 54% (61) Relative importance of employability skills when recruiting Those directors in our survey whose organisations employed recent graduates were asked to rate the relative importance of graduates employability skills as opposed to the specific occupational, technical or academic knowledge and skills associated with their degree. Interestingly, the graduate employers placed a much higher emphasis on the former. WHEN RECRUITING RECENT GRADUATES, HOW IMPORTANT TO YOU AS AN EMPLOYER ARE THEIR WIDER EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS COMPARED TO THE SPECIFIC OCCUPATIONAL, TECHNICAL OR ACADEMIC KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS ASSOCIATED WITH THEIR DEGREE? 8 Employability skills are much more 36% (92) Employability skills are a little more 29% (74) Neither more nor less the same level of importance 23% (60) Employability skills are a little less 9% (23) Employability skills are much less 3% (7) Don t know 1% (3) Total: More 64% (167) Total: Less 12% (30) Balance 53% (136) Satisfaction with recent graduates Overall quality In a result echoing previous IoD research, 9 the directors surveyed were satisfied with the overall quality of the recent graduates employed in their organisations. 8 There were 259 respondents to this question, i.e. those organisations employing recent graduates. 9 In the Q IoD Business Opinion Survey, 63% of graduate recruiters were happy or very happy with the quality of their graduate, 21% (72) were neither happy nor unhappy, and 14% (47) unhappy or very unhappy. Note that this survey concerned the recruitment of all graduates, not just those recently graduated. Fieldwork was conducted between 12 and 23 June

9 71% (184) were quite satisfied or very satisfied, with 17% (43) neither satisfied nor dissatisfied and 12% (31) dissatisfied. ON THE WHOLE, HOW SATISFIED OR DISSATISFIED ARE YOU WITH THE OVERALL QUALITY OF THESE RECENT GRADUATES? 10 Very satisfied 20% (51) Quite satisfied 51% (133) Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied 17% (43) Dissatisfied 10% (26) Very dissatisfied 2% (5) Don t know 0% (1) Total: Satisfied 71% (184) Total: Dissatisfied 12% (31) Balance 59% (153) Occupational and technical knowledge and skills The graduate recruiters surveyed were similarly content with the occupational and technical knowledge and skills of their graduate. 68% (175) were quite or very satisfied, and only 9% (24) dissatisfied. ON THE WHOLE, HOW SATISFIED OR DISSATISFIED ARE YOU WITH THE OCCUPATIONAL AND TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS* OF YOUR GRADUATE EMPLOYEES? 11 Very satisfied 17% (44) Quite satisfied 51% (131) Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied 21% (53) Dissatisfied 7% (18) Very dissatisfied 2% (6) Don t know 2% (6) Total: Satisfied 68% (175) Total: Dissatisfied 9% (24) Balance 58% (151) * i.e. the knowledge and skills associated with graduates degree discipline Employability skills However, when it came to graduates employability skills, employers were slightly less effusive. 55% (143) were quite or very satisfied; 26% (67) neither satisfied nor dissatisfied; and 18% (48) dissatisfied or very dissatisfied. 10 There were 259 respondents to this question, i.e. those organisations employing recent graduates. 11 There were 259 respondents to this question, i.e. those organisations employing recent graduates. 9

10 ON THE WHOLE, HOW SATISFIED OR DISSATISFIED ARE YOU WITH THE WIDER EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS* OF YOUR GRADUATE EMPLOYEES? 12 Very satisfied 9% (22) Quite satisfied 46% (120) Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied 26% (67) Dissatisfied 16% (41) Very dissatisfied 3% (7) Don t know 1% (2) Total: Satisfied 55% (143) Total: Dissatisfied 18% (48) Balance 37% (95) * i.e. the more generic skills and attributes needed in employment Summary IF YOUR ORGANISATION RECRUITS RECENT GRADUATES, HOW SATISFIED OR DISSATISFIED ARE YOU WITH THEIR? 13 Satisfied Neither Dissatisfied Balance Overall quality 71% (184) 17% (43) 12% (31) 59% (153) Occupational/technical knowledge and skills 68% (175) 21% (53) 9% (24) 58% (151) Employability skills 55% (143) 26% (67) 18% (48) 37% (95) 12 There were 259 respondents to this question, i.e. those organisations employing recent graduates. 13 There were 259 respondents to this question, i.e. those organisations employing recent graduates. 10

11 5. Recent graduates employability skills: importance to employers The employability skills employers look for in graduates All directors interviewed in the survey, not just those whose organisations employed recent graduates, were asked how it was for graduates to possess a range of 28 employability skills. These were grouped loosely into four sets of skills: Basic skills literacy; numeracy; communication; and ICT skills General employment skills e.g. ability to meet deadlines; problem solving; business acumen; decision making People and social skills e.g. team working; leadership; negotiating; networking Personal qualities and skills e.g. reliability; having positive attitude; being hardworking; punctuality Basic skills Unsurprisingly, the basic skills were deemed for graduates to possess by almost all directors. However, the degree of emphasis placed on each did vary. For example, 96% (478) of those interviewed said it was very for graduates to have basic literacy skills, compared to 52% (262) saying the same of ICT skills. HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR UNIVERSITY GRADUATES TO POSSESS THE FOLLOWING EXAMPLES OF EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS? 14 Very (5) Quite (4) Neither nor un (3) Not very (2) Not at all (1) Basic literacy skills 96% (478) 4% (18) 1% (3) - 0% (1) Basic oral communication skills (e.g. telephone skills) 91% (455) 9% (45) - - 0% (1) Numeracy skills 77% (383) 21% (103) 2% (11) 0% (2) - ICT skills 52% (262) 42% (211) 4% (21) 1% (5) - General employment skills Of the general employment skills suggested, the ability to meet deadlines was most highly valued, with 69% (345) of directors rating it very. Just a quarter (24% (120)) gave the same emphasis to possessing business acumen. 14 There were 500 respondents to this question. 11

12 HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR UNIVERSITY GRADUATES TO POSSESS THE FOLLOWING EXAMPLES OF EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS? 15 Very (5) Quite (4) Neither nor un (3) Not very (2) Not at all (1) The ability to meet deadlines 69% (345) 29% (143) 2% (9) 1% (3) - Problem solving skills 59% (294) 37% (186) 3% (15) 1% (3) 0% (2) Attention to detail 61% (303) 34% (169) 4% (18) 2% (8) 0% (2) Creative and innovative thinking skills Advanced oral communication skills (e.g. presentations) 40% (202) 51% (253) 6% (31) 2% (12) 0% (2) 42% (212) 46% (230) 8% (41) 3% (16) 0% (1) Decision making skills 38% (192) 51% (255) 7% (35) 3% (17) 0% (1) Advanced written communication skills (e.g. formal reports & letters) 38% (188) 51% (253) 7% (34) 5% (24) 0% (1) Business acumen 24% (120) 49% (244) 19% (95) 7% (36) 1% (4) People and social skills Of the collection of people and social skills, team working and etiquette and good manners attracted the highest proportions of very ratings, with 69% (344) and 68% (340) respectively. By contrast, foreign language skills were less prized, 7% (33) of directors considering them very. HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR UNIVERSITY GRADUATES TO POSSESS THE FOLLOWING EXAMPLES OF EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS? 16 Very (5) Quite (4) Neither nor un (3) Not very (2) Not at all (1) Team working and cooperation skills Etiquette and good manners 69% (344) 28% (141) 2% (11) 1% (3) - 68% (340) 30% (149) 1% (4) 1% (4) 0% (2) Self confidence 49% (245) 46% (228) 4% (22) 0% (2) 1% (3) Appropriate dress and appearance 47% (233) 41% (204) 7% (34) 4% (22) 2% (8) Networking skills 26% (132) 52% (260) 14% (69) 7% (33) 1% (6) 15 There were 500 respondents to this question. 16 There were 500 respondents to this question. 12

13 Influencing and negotiating skills 23% (116) 53% (267) 14% (72) 8% (39) 1% (5) Leadership skills 19% (97) 53% (263) 16% (82) 10% (48) 2% (8) Foreign language skills 7% (33) 33% (164) 25% (127) 24% (120) 11% (53) Personal qualities and skills The survey also included a range of personal qualities and skills, all of which were rated as or very by more than 90% of the directors interviewed. HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR UNIVERSITY GRADUATES TO POSSESS THE FOLLOWING EXAMPLES OF EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS? 17 Very (5) Quite (4) Neither nor un (3) Not very (2) Not at all (1) Honesty and integrity 96% (481) 4% (18) 0% (1) - - Reliability 86% (429) 14% (68) 0% (2) 0% (1) - Being hardworking and having a good work ethic A positive, can do attitude 78% (391) 21% (106) 0% (1) 0% (2) - 72% (358) 25% (127) 2% (11) 0% (2) 0% (1) Punctuality 70% (351) 27% (134) 2% (12) 1% (4) - Willingness to take on responsibility 59% (295) 38% (192) 2% (9) 1% (3) - Adaptability and flexibility 54% (271) 42% (211) 3% (13) 1% (4) - The ability to work independently 38% (189) 55% (273) 5% (25) 2% (9) 0% (1) Summary In all, 27 of the 28 skills listed were rated by more than 70% of members as being quite or very for recent graduates to possess. The only exception was foreign language skills (39%). The table below lists all of the suggested skills, qualities and characteristics, in descending order of importance. 17 There were 500 respondents to this question. 13

14 IMPORTANCE OF EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS FOR RECENT UNIVERSITY GRADUATES Very Quite Total: Mean Honesty and integrity 96% (481) 4% (18) 100% (499) 4.96 Basic literacy skills 96% (478) 4% (18) 99% (496) 4.94 Basic oral communication 91% (455) 9% (45) 100% (499) 4.90 skills (e.g. telephone skills) Reliability 86% (429) 14% (68) 99% (496) 4.85 Being hardworking and 78% (391) 21% (106) 99% (497) 4.77 having a good work ethic Numeracy skills 77% (383) 21% (103) 97% (486) 4.74 A positive, can do attitude 72% (358) 25% (127) 97% (485) 4.68 Punctuality 70% (351) 27% (134) 97% (485) 4.66 The ability to meet deadlines 69% (345) 29% (143) 98% (488) 4.66 Team working and cooperation 69% (344) 28% (141) 97% (485) 4.65 skills Etiquette and good manners 68% (340) 30% (149) 98% (489) 4.64 Willingness to take on 59% (295) 38% (192) 98% (488) 4.56 responsibility Problem solving skills 59% (294) 37% (186) 96% (480) 4.54 Attention to detail 61% (303) 34% (169) 94% (471) 4.52 Adaptability and flexibility 54% (271) 42% (211) 96% (482) 4.50 ICT skills 52% (262) 42% (211) 95% (473) 4.46 Self confidence 49% (245) 46% (228) 95% (473) 4.42 The ability to work 38% (189) 55% (273) 92% (462) 4.29 independently Creative and innovative 40% (202) 51% (253) 91% (455) 4.28 thinking skills Advanced oral 42% (212) 46% (230) 88% (442) 4.27 communication skills (e.g. presentations) Appropriate dress and 47% (233) 41% (204) 87% (436) 4.26 appearance Decision making skills 38% (192) 51% (255) 89% (447) 4.24 Advanced written 38% (188) 51% (253) 88% (441) 4.21 communication skills (e.g. formal reports & letters) Networking skills 26% (132) 52% (260) 78% (392) 3.96 Influencing and negotiating 23% (116) 53% (267) 77% (384) 3.90 skills Business acumen 24% (120) 49% (244) 73% (364) 3.88 Leadership skills 19% (97) 53% (263) 72% (359) 3.79 Foreign language skills 7% (33) 33% (164) 39% (197)

15 6. Recent graduates possession of employability skills Having examined how IoD members considered the range of employability skills to be, the employers of recent graduates 52% of those interviewed were asked the extent to which these demonstrated each skill. Basic skills As you would hope, the basic skills of literacy, numeracy, oral communication and ICT were among the most frequently demonstrated employability skills by recent graduates. Indeed, given that most of these young people will have been in education for 15 years or more by the time they graduate, the mastery of the basics should be seen as a minimum requirement. It is therefore of some concern that the proportion of graduate employers stating that always demonstrated these skills is not higher. Equally, it is worrying that that the proportion witnessing these skills occasionally or never was 15% for ICT skills, 18% for literacy, 20% for oral communication and 21% for numeracy. TO WHAT EXTENT ARE THE FOLLOWING EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS DEMONSTRATED BY THE RECENT GRADUATES THAT YOUR ORGANISATION EMPLOYS? 18 Always (4) Often (3) Occasionally (2) Never (1) Don t know Basic literacy skills 38% (97) 44% (115) 17% (45) 1% (2) 0% (1) Basic oral communication skills (e.g. telephone skills) 33% (85) 47% (121) 20% (51) 0% (1) 0% (1) Numeracy skills 33% (85) 46% (120) 20% (52) 1% (2) 0% (1) ICT skills 40% (105) 44% (114) 14% (36) 1% (2) 1% (2) General employment skills As a group, general employment skills such as attention to detail, problem solving and decision making tended to be less frequently demonstrated by recent graduates. The ability to meet deadlines was the most often displayed 66% (170) of directors whose organisations employed recent graduates said that these always or often exhibited this skill. Business acumen was the least frequently demonstrated 68% (175) said recent graduates showed this skill occasionally or never. 18 There were 259 respondents to this question, i.e. those organisations employing recent graduates. 15

16 TO WHAT EXTENT ARE THE FOLLOWING EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS DEMONSTRATED BY THE RECENT GRADUATES THAT YOUR ORGANISATION EMPLOYS? 19 Always (4) Often (3) Occasionally (2) Never (1) Don t know The ability to meet deadlines 18% (47) 48% (123) 32% (83) 2% (5) 1% (1) Problem solving skills 16% (42) 46% (120) 35% (91) 2% (4) 1% (2) Attention to detail 18% (48) 45% (115) 34% (88) 3% (8) 0% (1) Creative and innovative thinking skills Advanced oral communication skills (e.g. presentations) 13% (35) 43% (112) 41% (106) 3% (7) 0% (1) 15% (39) 41% (107) 41% (106) 2% (6) 0% (1) Decision making skills 10% (26) 37% (96) 47% (122) 6% (14) 0% (1) Advanced written communication skills (e.g. formal reports & letters) 14% (37) 41% (107) 38% (99) 7% (17) 0% (1) Business acumen 8% (21) 24% (62) 56% (144) 12% (31) 1% (1) People and social skills Graduate employers in the IoD survey particularly picked out graduates ability to team work: 82% (212) said that recent graduates demonstrated this skills always or often. Influencing and negotiating skills (35% (90) always/often ), leadership skills (31% (79)) and foreign language skills (21% (54)) were less frequently observed. In fairness, these skills were also deemed relatively less for recent graduates to possess than others, though the gap between the proportion of employers rating them and the proportion of graduates demonstrating them is still significant. TO WHAT EXTENT ARE THE FOLLOWING EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS DEMONSTRATED BY THE RECENT GRADUATES THAT YOUR ORGANISATION EMPLOYS? 20 Always (4) Often (3) Occasionally (2) Never (1) Don t know Team working and cooperation skills 30% (78) 52% (134) 18% (46) 0% (1) 0% (1) Etiquette and good 26% (68) 51% (132) 21% (54) 2% (4) 0% (1) manners There were 259 respondents to this question, i.e. those organisations employing recent graduates. 20 There were 259 respondents to this question, i.e. those organisations employing recent graduates. 21 It is sometimes suggested that aside from the more expected employability skills, young people can lack knowledge of basic etiquette or good manners, for example bad language, 16

17 Self confidence 25% (64) 53% (138) 21% (55) 1% (1) 0% (1) Appropriate dress and appearance 24% (61) 51% (131) 24% (62) 1% (4) 1% (2) Networking skills 11% (28) 39% (102) 46% (119) 4% (9) 1% (1) Influencing and negotiating skills 6% (15) 29% (75) 57% (148) 8% (20) 0% (1) Leadership skills 7% (18) 24% (61) 58% (151) 11% (27) 1% (1) Foreign language skills 5% (13) 16% (41) 49% (128) 25% (66) 4% (11) Personal qualities and skills Employers of recent graduates were very positive about their personal qualities and skills, with particularly high proportions viewing them as honest and reliable. Just 7% (18) of graduate recruiters thought their recent graduates only occasionally demonstrated honesty and integrity, and just 15% (39) thought they only occasionally proved reliable. Over three quarters also considered recent graduates always or often demonstrated a positive attitude (79% (205)), a good work ethic (77% (200)) and punctuality (77% (199)). TO WHAT EXTENT ARE THE FOLLOWING EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS DEMONSTRATED BY THE RECENT GRADUATES THAT YOUR ORGANISATION EMPLOYS? 22 Always (4) Often (3) Occasionally (2) Never (1) Don t know Honesty and integrity 52% (136) 40% (104) 7% (18) - 1% (2) Reliability 32% (83) 52% (136) 15% (39) - 1% (2) Being hardworking and having a good work ethic A positive, can do attitude 30% (78) 47% (122) 22% (57) 0% (1) 1% (2) 24% (63) 55% (142) 20% (53) - 1% (2) Punctuality 28% (73) 49% (126) 22% (57) 1% (2) 1% (2) Willingness to take on responsibility 25% (65) 48% (124) 26% (68) 0% (1) 1% (2) Adaptability and flexibility 26% (67) 48% (124) 25% (65) 1% (2) 1% (2) The ability to work independently 17% (44) 48% (123) 35% (90) 0% (1) 1% (2) impoliteness and poor table manners, which could project a negative or unprofessional image. In addition to the result here, the issue was also put directly to the directors in our survey whose organisations employed recent graduates in a separate question. 30% (78) of organisations employing recent graduates said that they had experienced instances of recently-graduated lacking basic etiquette or manners. 22 There were 259 respondents to this question, i.e. those organisations employing recent graduates. 17

18 Summary The table below summarises the results above, presenting employability skills in descending order according to how frequently they were demonstrated by recent graduates. In terms of the order in which the skills appear, the list is relatively consistent with the ordering apparent in the importance table. Two thirds of the employability skills in this demonstration table are within three places of their position in the importance table. The final column illustrates the relative positions. EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS DEMONSTRATED BY RECENT GRADUATES Always Often Total: Always/Often Mean +/- Honesty and integrity 52% (136) 40% (104) 93% (240) 3.46 = ICT skills 40% (105) 44% (114) 85% (219) Basic literacy skills 38% (97) 44% (115) 82% (212) Reliability 32% (83) 52% (136) 85% (219) 3.17 = Basic oral communication 33% (85) 47% (121) 80% (206) skills (e.g. telephone skills) Team working and cooperation 30% (78) 52% (134) 82% (212) skills Numeracy skills 33% (85) 46% (120) 79% (205) Being hardworking and having 30% (78) 47% (122) 77% (200) a good work ethic Punctuality 28% (73) 49% (126) 77% (199) A positive, can do attitude 24% (63) 55% (142) 79% (205) Etiquette and good manners 26% (68) 51% (132) 77% (200) 3.02 = Self confidence 25% (64) 53% (138) 78% (202) Adaptability and flexibility 26% (67) 48% (124) 74% (191) Willingness to take on 25% (65) 48% (124) 73% (189) responsibility Appropriate dress and 24% (61) 51% (131) 74% (192) appearance The ability to meet deadlines 18% (47) 48% (123) 66% (170) The ability to work 17% (44) 48% (123) 64% (167) independently Attention to detail 18% (48) 45% (115) 63% (163) Problem solving skills 16% (42) 46% (120) 63% (162) Advanced oral communication 15% (39) 41% (107) 56% (146) 2.69 = skills (e.g. presentations) Creative and innovative 13% (35) 43% (112) 57% (147) thinking skills Advanced written 14% (37) 41% (107) 56% (144) communication skills (e.g. formal reports & letters) Networking skills 11% (28) 39% (102) 50% (130) Decision making skills 10% (26) 37% (96) 47% (122) Influencing and negotiating 6% (15) 29% (75) 35% (90) 2.33 = skills Business acumen 8% (21) 24% (62) 32% (83) 2.28 = Leadership skills 7% (18) 24% (61) 31% (79) 2.27 = Foreign language skills 5% (13) 16% (41) 21% (54) 2.01 = 18

19 Of greater interest than the relative positions in the two tables is the absolute difference between the proportion of directors rating a particular skill and the proportion of graduate employers saying recent graduates demonstrated it always or often. The largest gaps are seen in relation to business acumen, leadership, decision making and influencing/negotiating skills. Of the top ten employability skills rated most for graduates to possess, it is the ability to meet deadlines which suffers from the greatest gap when translated into practice. 98% of all the directors polled said this skill was quite or very in graduates, but only 66% of graduate employers thought recent graduates demonstrated the ability often or always. DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PROPORTION OF DIRECTORS RATING AN EMPLOYABILITY SKILL IMPORTANT/VERY IMPORTANT, AND PROPORTION STATING RECENT GRADUATES DEMONSTRATED THE SKILL ALWAYS/OFTEN Skill /very Skill demonstrated always/often Difference Honesty/integrity 100% 93% -7% ICT 95% 85% -10% Dress/appearance 87% 74% -13% Reliability 99% 85% -14% Team working 97% 82% -15% Literacy 99% 82% -17% Self confidence 95% 78% -17% Numeracy 97% 79% -18% Positive attitude 97% 79% -18% Basic oral communication 100% 80% -20% Punctuality 97% 77% -20% Etiquette 98% 77% -21% Adaptability 96% 74% -22% Hardworking 99% 77% -22% Take on responsibility 98% 73% -25% Independent working 92% 64% -28% Networking 78% 50% -28% Attention to detail 94% 63% -31% Advanced oral communication 88% 56% -32% Advanced written communication 88% 56% -32% Deadlines 98% 66% -32% Problem solving 96% 63% -33% Creative/innovative 91% 57% -34% Business acumen 73% 32% -41% Leadership 72% 31% -41% Decision making 89% 47% -42% Influencing/negotiating 77% 35% -42% 19

20 Recent graduates' employability skills: importance vs. demonstration 100% % of IoD members/graduate recruiters 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Honesty/integrity Literacy Basic oral comm. Reliability Hardworking Numeracy Positive attitude Punctuality Deadlines Team working Etiquette Take on responsibility Problem solving Attention to detail Adaptability ICT Self confidence Independent working Creative/innovative Advanced oral comm. Dress/appearance Decision making Advanced written comm. Networking Influencing/negotiating Business acumen Leadership Foreign languages Employability skills Skill /very Skill demonstrated alw ays/often 20

21 7. Training to develop employability skills Overall, IoD members organisations have an extremely impressive training record almost all, 97%, provide training for their. 23 The directors in our latest survey whose organisations employed recent graduates also displayed a commitment to developing the employability of these : 77% (200) provided specific training in employability skills. DOES YOUR ORGANISATION PROVIDE SPECIFIC TRAINING TO DEVELOP ANY OF THESE EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS IN EMPLOYEES WHO HAVE RECENTLY GRADUATED? 24 Yes 77% (200) No 22% (57) Don t know 1% (2) As might be anticipated given resource constraints, the smallest organisations represented in the survey were less likely to provide specific training in employability skills than larger organisations. PROVISION OF TRAINING IN EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS TO RECENT GRADUATES 1-25 [74] [27] [24] [21] 201+ [113] Yes 62% (46) 78% (21) 65% (15) 79% (17) 89% (101) No 37% (27) 22% (6) 32% (7) 21% (4) 11% (12) The employability skills in which specific training was most commonly provided were leadership and management (31% (63)), team working (25% (49)), communication (23% (46)) and presentation skills (19% (38)). 6% (12) provided training in literacy and numeracy. WHICH EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS DO YOU TRAIN GRADUATE EMPLOYEES TO DEVELOP? 25 Leadership/management skills 31% (63) Team working skills 25% (49) Communication skills 23% (46) Presentation skills 19% (38) Time management skills 14% (29) Technical/ICT skills 14% (27) All types/wide ranging 13% (27) Problem solving 11% (21) Negotiating skills 10% (21) Business skills/acumen 8% (16) Literacy/numeracy 6% (12) 23 Source: Q IoD Business Opinion Survey (October). 24 There were 259 respondents to this question, i.e. those organisations employing recent graduates. 25 There were 200 respondents to this question, i.e. all those organisations employing recent graduates which provided specific training to develop graduates employability skills. 21

22 Ethics 5% (10) Confidence building/self esteem 5% (9) Customer service/focus/facing skills 5% (9) Creative/innovative skills 4% (9) Social/networking skills 4% (8) Decision making 3% (7) Adaptability/flexibility 3% (6) Honesty/trustworthiness 3% (6) Reliability 3% (6) Report/letter writing 3% (6) Project management 3% (5) Can do attitude/motivation 2% (5) Financial 2% (4) Integrity 2% (4) Language skills 2% (4) Other personal skills/personal awareness/development 2% (4) Independent working 1% (3) Office skills 1% (2) Others 18% (37) Don t know 5% (10) Employers of graduates have clearly embraced their role in developing the skills of these. At the same time, directors also expressed their strong support for universities also to seek to cultivate students wider employability skills before they enter the marketplace. 89% (447) of all the directors surveyed thought it for universities to do this in addition to the development of academic skills and knowledge in degree programmes, with 71% (354) considering it very. HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU THINK IT IS FOR UNIVERSITIES TO CULTIVATE STUDENTS WIDER EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS IN ADDITION TO THE ACADEMIC SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE DEVELOPED WHILE STUDYING FOR THEIR DEGREE? 26 Very 71% (354) Quite 19% (93) Neither nor un 5% (24) Not very 3% (15) Not at all 2% (11) Don t know 0% (2) Total: Important 89% (447) Total: Not 5% (27) Balance 84% (421) 26 There were 500 respondents to this question. 22

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