Joanne Raybould is Graduate Employment and Training Coordinator and Victoria Sheedy is Marketing Assistant, both at Graduate Advantage, Birmingham, UK.
Abstract Purpose – To discuss employability and skills requirements for graduates from a graduate recruiter’s point of view. Design/methodology/approach – To look at key graduate recruitment organisations and explain what skills programmes are available to graduates. Also looks at continued development and what employers may be able to do in the future to improve skills? Findings – There are transferable skills that employers like to see in a graduate and these can vary according to type of role; also, in general, graduates are keen to develop their skills further. There are organisations to help graduates improve these employability skills like Graduate Advantage and higher education institutions. Originality/value – Of value to employers looking to recruit graduates, who need to be aware of what types of programmes are available to graduates. It is valuable to graduates, who need to look at their own skills and improve their employability. Keywords Graduates, Skills, Employment Paper type Viewpoint
´ t is something of a cliche for businesses to note the importance of their ‘‘human resource’’, i.e. their people. But, what is expected from this resource? What skills are required, particularly from graduates entering employment?
This article explores some of these questions and reports on the action that is being taken in some areas to support business requirements.
The skills required
The emphasis on skills required by employers varies depending on the type of job role to be carried out within an organisation. However there has been some consensus of opinion on the importance of ‘‘transferable’’ or ‘‘employability’’ skills for employees, particularly for those in management positions. These skills refer to certain personal abilities of an individual, which can be taken from one job role to another, used within any profession and at any stage of their career. According to Graduate Prospects, the trading subsidiary of the charity HECSU, ‘‘Nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of vacancies on offer are open to graduates from any discipline. This reﬂects the fact that employers are looking for vital soft skills in graduates which are obtained during study and periods of work experience, rather than degree-speciﬁc knowledge.’’ Peter Knight from the Institute for Educational Technology at the Open University is quoted in the Hobsons Directory 2005 (www.get.hobsons.co.uk), for graduate-level vacancies, discussing skills looked on favourably amongst employers: ‘‘When hiring, employers generally value good evidence of: ability to cope with uncertainty; ability to work under pressure; action-planning skills; communication skills; IT skills; proﬁciency in networking and
VOL. 37 NO. 5 2005, pp. 259-263, Q Emerald Group Publishing Limited, ISSN 0019-7858
INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL TRAINING
team working; readiness to explore and create opportunities; self-conﬁdence; self-management skills; and willingness to learn’’. Thus for graduates to be attractive to employers it is important that they are able to show evidence of having these skills. Statements from employers’ organisations such as the Confederation of British Industry and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development include comments on ‘‘the difﬁculty employers face in recruiting ‘work-ready’ individuals’’. Therefore it is relevant to consider whether graduates do have the opportunity to develop these work related skills
What is being done to ensure that graduates are ‘‘work-ready’’? According to the Learning and Teaching Support Network, ‘‘producing employable graduates is becoming more complex and more important. Graduate numbers are...