Ruby McGregor-Smith, chief executive of outsourcing company Mitie Group, added that there needs to be some “really big thinking” on how academia and industry can support graduates to think about work.
Speaking at the annual lecture of the National Centre for Universities and Business, she said it was not enough for universities to say that they had done their bit once education is over.
The talk entitled Women in Leadership: Breaking Down Barriers was held at the Royal Institution on 4 November.
“Britain is changing in terms of the jobs that are on offer, technology is changing rapidly in terms of the jobs that will exist in the next two decades. There needs to be some really big thinking about how that collaboration works because at the moment I don’t think it is fit for purpose,” she said.
Ms McGregor-Smith said that that graduates need to be supported into the next phase of their lives after university. Institutions should be collaborating with businesses of all sizes to better support work experience and paid internships, she added.
“Careers advice is one of the big things we must focus on,” she said, adding that there is good work in some areas but it is not happening consistently across the UK.
Ms McGregor-Smith, one of the few female leaders of a FTSE-250 company, also told delegates that universities needed to better understand the outsourcing sector.