The gulf between employers and graduates set to widen

It is little surprise that there is a disconnection between graduate and employer expectations (Personnel Today,13 June). According to your article, while 91% of graduates are confident they are prepared for the workplace, half of UK employers complain about the levels of graduate skills. This is a typical Catch 22.

The market is now flooded with graduates, making competition for entry-level jobs tougher than ever.

Graduates need to be armed with bags of initiative, work experience, IT and communication skills to survive – but this is not being effectively communicated by businesses or university career departments. It is little wonder that graduates are unwittingly ill-prepared for work, and thereis disappointment on both sides.

Graduates need to realise that academic skills do not necessarily translate into success in the workplace and that, evenwith relevant skills, they might have to startat the bottom. Equally, businesses need to communicate to career departments and students the skills they are looking for intheir choice of graduates.

If only one in four graduates expects to stay in their first job for five years, UK businesses are not doing enough to retain graduate talent. Those who insist on employing graduates need to offer the training and development opportunities that today’s graduates expect. The workplace is a two-way street. These issues need to be addressed before the gulf between graduate and employer expectations becomes too large to bridge.

Sue McLelland, divisional leader, Pathfinders

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