Nearly half of all recruiters are not confident that this year’s graduates will have the right skills for the jobs, according to a recent survey.
Employers are anticipating recruitment difficulties and will be looking for more than just academic qualifications, the research by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) showed.
The number of graduate vacancies is expected to grow by 15% in 2006, compared with 5% in 2005, but a significant number of the 222 organisations questioned said there were not enough applicants with the right abilities.
Carl Gilleard, AGR chief executive, said: “Employers are likely to be looking to graduates who can demonstrate softer skills such as team-working, cultural awareness, leadership and communication skills, as well as academic achievement.”
Higher education minister Bill Rammell said the government understood that more businesses needed vocational skills.
“That is why we have placed much emphasis on the growth of foundation degrees, because they are vocational higher education qualifications designed with employers,” he said.
Rammell said he wanted more UK business leaders to “come on board”.
The average starting salary for graduates is now £23,000, an increase of 2.3% from last year and the smallest rise in five years, the AGR Graduate Recruitment Survey 2006 showed.