Let's be realistic

October 8, 2009

Of course industry and the academy should work together to encourage the transition of suitably skilled students from study to employment ("Sector split by CBI's vision of higher fees and less aid", 24 September). However, too many employers fighting for talent often over-egg descriptions of their graduate-level vacancies. As a result, everyone suffers.

We see a disappointing number of well-prepared, able graduates return to us to restart their careers. Some were recruited for "client-handling skills" but never met a client; others were valued for "team-working skills" but spent 18 months alone squinting at spreadsheets, or were recruited for their "innovative thinking" but never faced a problem bigger than what to have for lunch.

If employers were more realistic about the skills they need, they may find more graduates better suited for lasting careers.

Gordon Chesterman, Director, careers service, University of Cambridge.

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