A survey by professional services company, Ernst & Young suggests that a degree alone is not enough and that students need to develop and display an attitude of resilience if they are to secure employment. 13/02/2012
The survey of over 1000 UK students was devised by the Centre of Applied Positive Psychology (CAPP) and tested for employability skills.
The results showed that although many students have core-skills such as problem solving and can build relationships, they aren’t always willing to take risks and can suffer from setbacks.
‘A good degree from a respected university no longer guarantees students’ a job. We interview over 3,000 bright graduates every year, but only about 25% have the all-round skill set that we recruit for,’ said Stephen Isherwood, head of graduate recruitment at Ernst & Young .
Of the 60 strengths tested for by the survey, the top five skills displayed by students were: taking pride in their work; problem solving; being true to themselves; building relationships and having a sense of humour. They were weaker in resilience, time optimisation, showing courage, taking risks and making themselves centre of attention.
‘Relationship development and problem solving are key attributes that we look for in our trainees. But the candidates who end up with job offers also demonstrate determination and resilience, and are able to work hard and thrive in difficult situations. We need to know that they are going to be able to cope if they are sent half way across the world to work on a client project,’ added Stephen.
Although 83% of students interviewed were confident about achieving their career aspirations, Stephen warned graduates against becoming complacent.
‘Students need to stay focussed on what they are good at and develop their experience around these core areas, rather than trying to cover all bases. This in turn will help to build confidence in their abilities and improve their levels of resilience,’ warned Alex Linley, the director of CAPP.
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