Failing to make the grade?

first_img Comments are closed. Today’s graduates are technical wizards with poor interpersonal skills,according to UK managers. Simon Kent asks readers what needs to be done topolish the new intakeThree-quarters of employers admit that new graduates have good IT skills,but less than a third are impressed by their ability to communicate and barelya quarter rate most of their other basic skills, according to the latestresearch from the Chartered Management Institute and the London College ofPrinting. The research highlights the gap between employers’ expectations of graduatesand the level of interpersonal skills graduate recruits offer. Building on a survey done in September 2000, the new research found someimprovements in manager perceptions of graduates’ basic skills andcommunications ability, however, there were still shortfalls in interpersonalskills, particularly in political and diplomatic skills. But are all graduate recruiters experiencing these deficiencies and what, ifanything, are they doing to address the skills gap? Simon WilsherManaging director, The Wilsher GroupIn the current climate, firms needtheir graduates to hit the ground running – transforming themselves fromgraduate to productive businessperson almost overnight. As a training companyworking with graduates, we advise blue-chips to give college leavers, who havethe skills to achieve academically, the tools that give them the confidence tocommunicate and succeed in the working world. We see the following as important: self confidence; positive attitude;interpersonal skills; communication skills and emotional drive.Rob HoganProfessional services director, Dolland & AitchisonOptometry is a very vocational degreeand graduates are highly-trained and skilled to pass exams, but that covers theskills behind what they do rather than behaviour. I started a programme several years ago to offer interpersonalskills at an undergraduate level and now many colleges include a module aboutthese kinds of abilities. Together with the training company Interaction, wenow run a week long induction programme which helps students gain thebehavioural, communication and interpersonal skills they need. We are trying to supplement the students knowledge and givethem the skills and attitudes the universities don’t have time to address.Martyn SteeleGroup graduate recruitment manager, Halifax Bank of ScotlandGraduate recruitment is becoming alarger field of activity for major employers such as ourselves andinterpersonal skills are at a premium in an increasingly service-based economy.I believe the demand has risen rather than the graduate population beingde-skilled.We do put a lot of onus on these skills, but in the case ofmore subtle skills such as negotiation skills and so on, I would question howfar a responsible employer would expect to find those skills in a graduate.There’s plenty of raw material out there and employers need to createassessment processes that allow graduates to demonstrate their capabilities.Peter MckinlayHead of people development, AsdaWhen you have a company culture asstrong as ours, the challenge is to bring in people who are adaptable, flexibleand people-focused. I don’t think you can expect people with almost zero workexperience to fit our people profile fantastically well so it’s the oldpractice of hiring for attitude and training for skills. We don’t need to tickoff a list of skills such as managing meetings or demonstrating the ability tomanage people because graduates have raw talent. If you have an expectationthat they have anything else you run the risk of being disappointed.Carl GilleardChief executive, Association of Graduate RecruitersOne reason for the gap is thatemployer expectations have risen. Employers now look for ‘oven ready’ graduates. There are far fewerbackroom jobs so you need good interpersonal skills because graduates aredealing with customers immediately – whether they be internal or external.There is an issue around the way we identify interpersonal skills. Employers should be more encouraging in this area – perhapsstressing in interviews that they are interested in any work experience and theskills learned as a result.Michele Dytham-WardManager of management development and education, Abbey NationalWe have always been aware of the needfor interpersonal skills among graduate recruits and address these in ourinduction programme. We recognise there is a transition between leavinguniversity and coming into a first job and we view this positively in terms ofgiving life skills, self awareness, self development and team-building. Theseelements are an integral part of the induction programme.Changes to the programme have been due to changes in ourbusiness as well as in the graduates themselves.FeedbackWhat do you think? If you have a topic you’d like to bediscussed on our Talking Points page, let us know in no more than 50 words.Send your correspondence to Stephanie Sparrow, Editor, Training Magazine, bye-mail: [email protected],fax: 020-8652 8805 or post: Training Magazine, 3rd floor, Quadrant House, TheQuadrant, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5AS. Please include full contact details so thatwe can get back to you. Previous Article Next Article Failing to make the grade?On 1 Jun 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img

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