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News : Innovation Last Updated: Nov 15, 2010 - 1:52:53 AM

IBEC says employers satisfied with Irish graduates; But poor people skills and ability to work independently
By Finfacts Team
Nov 15, 2010 - 1:26:48 AM

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University of Limerick

IBEC, the business lobby group, today launched the results of a new survey, which found that 75% of employers are satisfied with the calibre of Irish graduates from Irish higher education institutions. However, employers also felt graduates fell down on their people skills and their ability to work independently. The findings are based on a survey of almost 340 companies employing 115,000 staff.

The survey shows that:

  • Almost two thirds of the 25% of companies who expressed dissatisfaction with graduate quality highlighted engineering-related disciplines
  • The ability to work autonomously, ‘attitudinal’ and ‘people-related’ skills were ranked as the top three gaps in graduates’ competence
  • Just 55% of companies reported that they had some direct interaction with universities or institutes of technology. These interactions happened mainly around graduate or undergraduate placement.

Only 4.9% of companies used higher education institutions for training their staff.

IBEC Head of Education Policy Tony Donohue said: "Most employers are satisfied with the calibre of Irish graduates, but there is no ground for complacency. The shortcoming in engineering-related disciplines indicates a serious gap between national policy priorities and what is happening on the ground. Export-led high technology companies are performing remarkably well, despite the recession. However their future here depends on sufficient numbers of suitably qualified graduates.

"Significant action is also required in the area of what are sometimes termed ‘generic’ or ‘employability’ skills. These skills are key requirements for many of the jobs we hope to create in high tech industries and in the services sector. The perceived shortfall in this area is a real cause for concern.

"Employers and educators have a critical role to play both in addressing these skills gaps and bridging the gap between education and employment. This can be achieved through work placements and greater links between business and higher education in areas such as curriculum development. In this way employers will get an opportunity to shape the learning that will help to drive economic recovery."

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