More money than job skills

October 13, 1995

British students are graduating without the right job skills because universities are concentrating too hard on money-spinning recruitment and research priorities, according to a report commissioned by the Association of Graduate Employers.

The AGR report, Skills for Graduates in the 21st Century, said that universities need to change the funding mechanism so that the focus is on learning rather than research and student numbers. Report author Peter Hawkins, a fellow at Liverpool University, said there is "a very real crisis" because universities are placing too much emphasis on what he called not only "bums on seats" but "golden bums on seats" - full-fee paying foreign students.

By focusing on teaching, universities could redirect resources so that career experts could be hired to teach a mandatory career development programme for graduates. Dr Hawkins said: "We need more than the occasional nice careers seminar or workshop on a Friday afternoon." To place a premium on teaching, the AGR suggested the establishment of a professional body for university teachers to set standards for teacher training The AGR also called for universities to emphasise so-called "self-reliant or enabling skills". Co-author Jonathan Winter said: "Will graduates need IT skills? Of course they will. Will they need foreign language skills? Of course they will. But will those skills be the defining characteristics of success in the 21st century? I don't think so."

The skills for the future include self-promotion, action-planning, networking, coping with uncertainty and "political awareness" - or "an understanding of the hidden tensions and power struggles within organisations".

Skills for Graduates in the 21st Century is available from the AGR, Sheraton House, Castle Park, Cambridge CB3 0AX. Price: Pounds 25

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns