Are universities failing graduates for the job market? - Business Works
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Are universities failing graduates for the job market?

by Doug Tucker, Managing Director, Sales Commando In a world where more graduates are being created than there are graduate jobs available, Doug Tucker, MD of Sales Commando believes that universities are failing graduate job seekers.

I have observed a gulf between the employment expectations of graduates and the expectations of potential employers amongst the major employers we work with.

Of course, employers are looking for those with the best exam results and take into account all the other key facets of university life, but employers are also looking for candidates who are team players, problem solvers and who can organise and prioritise their work. All too often, they tell me, they find candidates lacking the crucial, top-level business, communication and interpersonal skills.

The problem is worldwide too, exacerbated by the post-recession decline in the number of graduate posts available. For example, in the UK, the Office for National Statistics says almost half the number of emerging graduates are stuck in non-graduate jobs. In China only 70% of graduates gain employment and these figures are reflected throughout the US, continental Europe and the UAE.

students should be properly equipped for the workplace

Universities need to equip students better to find suitable employment once they have graduated which can be achieved quite easily by adding real-world training as part of the university course structure. There is an easy and workable solution. The best graduate jobs are scarce and I believe that more than ever universities have a duty of care to ensure their students are properly equipped to meet the demands of employers in the real world.

This can be achieved by including sales training in the course curriculum - because all businesses of any size and in any industry are in the business of selling. It needn't be extensive training either. I suggest, as part of the final few months between dissertation and exams, all students especially on business related courses undertake at least a day of cutting-edge sales training.

Sales training will also hone other essential values that employers will demand. At its core, sales training engenders rock-solid communication and interpersonal skills. As has been proven through many surveys, these are the abilities employers are looking for in the graduate, yet so rarely find.

Universities provide their students with plenty of important and highly-valued advantages in an increasingly-demanding, competitive and globalised graduate job market. But I believe, and it is my experience with major employers worldwide who are looking to recruit the best graduates, that real-world sales training could quite easily make that difference between employment and rejection.

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