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Think Graduates Can Plug the Skills Gap? Think Again!

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Despite being lauded as the UK’s solution to an ever-growing skills gap, latest research suggests graduates don’t have what it takes to reboot the nation’s labour market as 80.9% of recruitment experts admit degrees aren’t as valuable as work experience.

The news comes from CV-Library, the UK’s largest job site, which conducted a survey amongst over 2,000 UK employees and over 500 leading recruitment experts to uncover attitudes towards graduates in the workplace. The data revealed a surprising decline in the value of a degree:

  • Over a half (52%) of recruitment experts admit they wouldn’t bother getting a degree themselves if they were starting out in today’s labour market
  • This reveals a 2% decline in the value of a degree year-on-year, suggesting degrees will be obsolete by 2041 – when asked the same question in 2015 only 50% of recruiters believed a degree was not worthwhile
  • Over two-thirds (69%) of UK employers don’t have formal graduate schemes, suggesting the investment in hiring, training and developing university leavers is too great
  • The biggest drawback of working with a graduate is that they lack experience and don’t have a fundamental understanding of business, as revealed by 74.2% of UK workers

Already in the thick of a skills shortage, the data suggests that graduates are not the solution to the nation’s labour challenge. This is concerning news for key UK industries such as engineering and education, as it was recently revealed that these sectors struggle the most to find qualified candidates to join their workforce.

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library comments:

“Many people point towards the next generation of workers to solve our economic challenges, but it’s clear that graduates are not the solution to our nation’s skills shortage. An important concern in the face of economic uncertainty, this is not an issue UK businesses can manage alone and more support is required from the government to tackle the skills challenge. Government intervention to ensure that the next generation is better equipped to enter the workforce, and to entice young professionals in key sectors like engineering, is essential.

“In addition to graduate woes, concerns are being raised by UK employers that access to skilled workers would take a hit in the event of a Brexit. The UK job market is flourishing and it’s essential that our workers gain the necessary skills to support the growth in jobs, regardless of the referendum outcome.”

CV-Library reported a 15.8% job growth in January 2016 when compared with January 2015, further confirming that more skilled workers are needed to fill the nation’s growth in vacancies. Learn more about CV-Library at www.cv-library.co.uk.