STUDENT LIFE / MAR. 30, 2015
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Report: Nearly Half of UK Graduates Unprepared for Work

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It has been speculated for a long time now that recent graduates are unprepared for the workforce. There have been many reasons for this anecdotal evidence, such as entitlement, immaturity and a lack of preparation in college. But is this even a correct premise to begin with? According to a new British study, yes it is.

See Also: U.S. Millennials’ Skills Lagging Behind Rest of the World

A new survey by Work Ready Graduates, an organization launched by Prospects, found that close to half (47 percent) of graduates in the United Kingdom felt they were unprepared for the working world. This is indeed a troubling statistic considering that millennials will soon account for a strong majority of the labor market. 

UK Graduates Unprepared

The research further indicated that more than one-third (38 percent) of 2,163 employed graduates found the transition from student to employee quite difficult. Of this group, more than half (55 percent) described the initial entrance into the workforce as full of uncertainty and 41 percent explained it was hard to start work.  

Although 84 percent of respondents said they knew how to behave in a workplace setting and two-thirds knew how to ask for assistance, 41 percent felt uncomfortable meeting new people and another one-third lacked self-confidence as they presented themselves to professionals in a working environment. Moreover, one-quarter of respondents confirmed they felt as if they did not fit in the workforce or even how to handle the conflicting personalities. 

Overall, 38 percent of recent graduates reported their working life turned out as expected. 

In addition, researchers provided graduates with a list of skills they had attained in university and prompted interviewees to select the skills that were most useful in their employment endeavors. Of the list, most graduates chose assertiveness, business etiquette, communication, job interview preparation and negotiation.

“This study shows that while graduates have honed their CV writing and teamwork skills at university, they are less likely to be prepared for the realities of working life," said Kyle Burrows, co-Founder at Work Ready Graduates, in a statement.  

"It’s important that graduates understand what is expected of them from day one and how they can be the best they can be. We need to build and complement the good work of careers services to develop professionals who have the knowledge and self-confidence to make their first steps on the career ladder a comfortable and happy experience.”  

Claire Ashton, Work Ready Graduates board member and senior associate director for the attraction team at Teach First, noted in a separate statement that it can be a daunting prospect of exiting the bubble of post-secondary education institutions and then embarking upon the asphalt jungle. Ashton added that graduates leave college maintaining a full arsenal of tools to succeed in the working world.

U.S. Millennials Also Unprepared 

Early last year, a Bentley University study concluded that United States millennials lacked a certain level of preparation for employment.  

The results of the study suggested that millennials are lazy, unprepared and think all it takes to succeed in life is a college degree. One-quarter of business leaders cited a college degree as the one skill needed to succeed, while more than half of college students and high schools listed a college degree as the only thing necessary to excel.

See Also: 4 Skills Essential for Millennials in 2015

In the end, the American study highlighted the fact that millennials need to hone in on their personal development as much as the education they obtain, while at the same time business leaders need to help millennials along the path with strong leadership.

Are you a millenial about to enter the workforce? Do you think you possess the necessary skills to be an effective worker? Your thoughts and comments below please...

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