Education system failing to meet needs of UK employers

Half of UK workers feel the education system has failed in providing the business and IT skills needed to compete against hundreds of candidates for a job.

Over half of UK workers (52%) think the education system is failing to meet the needs of employers, according to research.

The report, Unlocking Britain’s Potential by recruitment firm Adecco Group, also found 36% of employers feel the same way about the education system. Employers highlighted IT skills (41%) and interpersonal skills (41%) as severely lacking in staff and potential candidates for job openings.

Jim Albert, managing director of IT recruiting agency Modis International, which is part of Adecco, said: “This goes back to the education system, where as a student you are trained to pass academic tests. More employment skills should be taught in schools, so a candidate is prepared for the business world. Employers are looking for candidates with a broader set of skills, other than just technical.”

According to the findings of the Adecco report, 55% of employers are concerned about the use of "text speech" among employees and in business communications.

Albert said that for every job advertised Modis now receives about 700 applications.

“There are a lot of jobs available and a lot of candidates too; however there are not a lot of matches for these. There are not a lot of candidates with both technical skills and communication skills, to suit the position that the employer is looking to fill,” he said.

Albert said 90% of the survey’s respondents admitted to searching for rare candidates who are technical but can also communicate in the business world.

“IT professionals are expected to be concerned with their company’s top line nowadays instead of just dealing with technology issues, and this requires good communication and business skills instead of just good qualifications,” he said.

Julie Mercer, partner and head of education consulting at Deloitte, said in the Adecco report: “The UK education system still doesn’t have enough young people leaving academia with the skills, attitudes and behaviours that employers demand.”

Albert highlighted three hot areas where IT employers are searching for quality candidates: business intelligence (BI), social media and project management.

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