A third of employers are dissatisfied with the literacy and numeracy of young people, according to new research by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
GCSE results published today show 50 per cent of pupils failed to achieve grade C or above in Maths and 40 per cent failed to get grade C or above in English.
The survey, undertaken by the CBI in conjunction with Pertemps recruitment agency, will also show dissatisfaction with school leavers' business awareness (70 per cent), foreign language skills (58 per cent), self management (56 per cent), career knowledge (44 per cent), and work attitude (37 per cent).
Digby Jones, CBI director-general said there are too many people who lack the basic abilities to step into today's world of work.
"Too often employers have to pick up the tab with extra training - damaging UK productivity - when low basic skills are a direct result of failures in the education system," he said.
"The Government should make eradicating this scandalous weakness its top priority before considering more radical education reforms."