Report highlights shortage of graduates for technical industries

UUK research says the economy requires an even greater number of graduates

December 9, 2015
Job skills key on PC keyboard

There is a shortage of graduates that will continue until at least 2020, a report published today has found.

The Universities UK report, which analysed the supply of and demand for higher level skills in the UK, challenges the idea of an oversupply of graduates.

It found that, in spite of a strong supply of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) students, with 27 per cent of higher education students on courses related to science, there are shortages of highly qualified workers in technical industries.

The report, Supply and Demand for Higher Level Skills, also says that there will be an unmet demand for workers with higher, but not necessarily degree-level qualifications, such as BTECs or Higher National Diplomas.

Read more: Top 150 universities for graduate employability

Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, said: “Our analysis finds little evidence of a graduate oversupply, but rather evidence that our economy is going to require an even greater number of higher qualified workers.”

The range of skills that graduates are taught are not evenly spread, the report also found. For example, maths students reported that they develop high-level logical thinking skills but not presentation skills.

The report urges greater collaboration between further and higher education to develop workers with higher level skills.

“Universities are working harder than ever to ensure that graduates in every discipline pick up a diverse range of skills useful to employers. These include skills such as problem-solving, critical analysis, team-working and entrepreneurial skills,” Ms Dandridge added. “There can, however, be a lack of understanding of these skills when it comes to employment. This underlines the need for employers to work in collaboration with universities and colleges in the process of developing ‘work-ready’ graduates.”

According to the report, many graduates find themselves in mismatched non-graduate jobs, with lower average earnings than their “matched” graduate counterparts. The report said that there needs to be a better understanding of why this happens and how it can be prevented.

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