Employers are struggling to fill technical vacancies due to a shortage of IT and engineering graduates with the right interpersonal skills, according to research by the Institute for Employment Studies.
The number of graduates from disciplines including IT, engineering, maths and the physical sciences is falling, according to the study published last week. The number of maths graduates fell by 1 per cent in the five years to 1999, against a 10 per cent rise in the total number of graduates.
Those graduates with technical degrees lack the important personal skills which employers are looking for in the modern workplace, the IES report claims.
IES director Richard Pearson said, "Employers want graduates who are primed for work, able to communicate, share their skills and appreciate their place in a wider organisation."
David Yeandle, deputy director of employment policy at the Engineering Employers' Federation, said demand among employers for these "softer skills" is more noticeable today.
He said, "The importance of people skills has gone up. But I am not sure the supply of those skills is any less than in the past."
The research also reveals that many graduates take three or four years to settle into stable employment, preferring to spend time in temporary jobs or further study first. One in four is in a temporary job nine months after graduation.