Technical Graduates Lose out to those Possessing 'Soft 'Skills'

5 Minutes

According to a recent study graduates in subjects such as Computer Science are facing diffic...

By Pareto Team


According to a recent study graduates in subjects such as Computer Science are facing difficulties securing jobs, especially those with poor communication skills and the inability to interact confidently as part of a team.

This study revealed that the majority of employers looked for graduates with soft skills, including confidence and the ability to be analytical at the initial recruitment stage. This was favoured over technical skills, many of which are possessed by maths, science and engineering graduates. When asked to rank a list of 30 competencies required or desired by employers, technical knowledge ranked 24th, whilst effective communication ranked 1st. Further soft skills such as being a team player ranked 3rd, confidence ranked 5th and the ability to be analytical ranked 6th.

Whilst graduates within more logical and analytical subjects may have the ability to do the job in hand using their technical knowledge, it is the inarticulate nature and inability to actively relate to people as part of a team that has seen some fall at the first hurdle.

Two-thirds of new jobs in the UK are in services such as the hospitality-sector and require dealing with people, hence employers prioritising such skills that are required in everyday business, no matter what ones job role is. This lack of people skills has put computer and mathematics top for unemployability, alongside engineering and media studies.

The study, Graduate Recruitment, Learning and Development, published by education provider Kaplan, also discovered that 75% of employers found it either moderately or very difficult to find the right graduates for their positions. This helps to explain the influx of graduates who are seeking opportunities and starting their careers in professions outside of their degree subject.

Although employers are more confident in the graduate talent pool and the skills they look for in them, the report by Kaplan also highlights how businesses are still not seeing enough candidates with the employability skills that they need. This could be due to employers possibly setting their expectations too high.

Further findings by Kaplan’s study revealed that 60 per cent of the employers questioned believed that every second graduate will become a future leader within their business. This is reflective of a report published last week by the Association of Graduate Recruiters, which revealed that employers in the UK are predicting an increase of 17 per cent in the number of graduate vacancies.

Whilst these findings focus on graduate employment, the study also heard from further employers who don’t plan to recruit graduates in their business at all, with many stating it was because of the attitude of many who “have no real life experience” or think that a degree “seems to entitle them to employment”.

The demand for more technical knowledge and skills has been declared to be more important post-employment, and rises from 24th to 2nd in ranking of skills priority after a graduate has been placed. Businesses were therefore happy to train their recruits in industry-specific knowledge and skills once they had been integrated within their company. 

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