Academics or acumen – what are employers really looking for?
We came across a frightening statistic the other day: a poll conducted in 2015 revealed that a huge 75% of UK company bosses are of the opinion that graduates “are not fit to be employed”.
Three out of four graduate applicants – dismissed out of hand? Even though they’ve proved themselves to have the intellectual capacity to study for and earn the very degree they need to give them a head start down their career path?
So why are employers so unimpressed by people who’ve had so much time and money invested in their future?
It’s not the qualification itself that’s the problem – or the intellectual capacity needed to earn it: according to the CBI’s 2015 Education and Skills Survey, 90% of employers are actually looking for more than just that degree – much more.
They’re looking for what they call “the right attitudes and aptitudes”, and after years in the not-quite-real world of university life those right attitudes and aptitudes – more commonly known as “business acumen” – is what three-quarters of graduates reaching for the first rung on their career ladder simply do not have.
It’s not surprising, really, when they’ve been concentrating on the intellectual – rather than the practical – side of learning.
After all, if a student misses an assignment deadline at university, it’s nobody’s problem but their own. But contrast that with an employee missing a work deadline: it’s going to impact on fellow employees … the company itself … and its clients.
And in a working environment, with constant deadlines imposed on them, graduates no longer have the luxury of getting their work done at their own pace – which is just one thing they need to learn in a hurry.
But there are also other things employers want graduates to learn in a hurry, as well:
– How their business operates
– How that business fits in with what’s going on in the world today
– What drives cashflow and profits, and how to minimise losses
– How to observe and evaluate what the competition is doing – and why
– How to keep up with changes in the business world …
… and how to put that knowledge to profitable use.
What’s more, employers are prepared to reward staff who’ve learned that – and more – very handsomely indeed. Many claim it’s taken them years to develop their business acumen simply by observing, learning and trial and error. But that’s not the only way to develop what’s defined as “keenness and depth of perception, especially in practical matters”… and it’s certainly not the fastest.
What graduates need today is a fast track from being a student to becoming a valuable asset to any business from day one – and that’s exactly what Flying Start is all about: the fast track every graduate needs – right when they need it most,
After just one seriously educational – but also extremely enjoyable – week of Flying Start coursework, where they learn essential career skills. Every participant can face any interview panel with the confidence of knowing they really do have the right attitudes and aptitudes.
They know they’ve now got the business acumen that proves they really are one of the 25% of graduates UK company bosses would consider “fit to be employed”. Because even though the academic side is important, it’s that business acumen which is exactly what UK business bosses are looking for.
But it’s not just in the business world where enthusiasm, perception and practicality sets a Flying Start graduate apart from the rest: it’s also very much out there in the real world, where they really do have to learn how to fend for themselves.
The valuable business skills Flying Start gives graduates are also essential life skills any young person taking their first tentative steps into adulthood need for a successful, independent life – both in and out of work. And those skills give that young person and those who’ve been supporting them the reassurance that in today’s uncertain world, no matter what life throws at them, they really can stand on their own two feet.
Invest one week in YOUR future.