Many graduates lack basic skills claims insurance industry

Many graduates entering the financial services industry struggle with basic literacy and numeracy skills, according to a survey by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII).

It claimed that 61% of employers polled said graduates struggled with literacy and numeracy, while 57% said the education system is failing to meet the needs of the financial services industry. Only 3% of those asked said basic educational levels were “more than adequate”.

The Chartered Insurance Institute said the reported shortage of technical skills was a 5% rise on the equivalent figure in the 2007 survey. It added that the skills issue was now on the agenda of four out of five employers surveyed, a 20% rise on 2007’s figure.

CII president Lord Hunt said the poll’s results provided “a wake up call…..that we all need to play an active part in raising skills levels. The increase in those reporting skills gaps is a particular worry. Employers, individuals and institutions such as the Chartered Insurance Institute, the Financial Services Skills Council and the government need to work together to ensure the industry’s needs are being met.

“In this period of economic instability it is vital that we do not take our eye off the skills issue, tempting though that may be. Cuts to training budgets in order to make a quick saving will prove to be a false economy.”

The 2008 CII skills survey was based on answers to an online questionnaire to UK CII and Personal Finance Society members, which include independent financial advisers. There wer 3,511 responses including 834 from employers. The Chartered Insurance Institute has 92,000 members worldwide.

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