Recent survey shows 22% of UK candidates lack qualifications

The CII Group has highlighted results from recent surveys – one finding that 22% of employers said UK candidates lacked the right qualifications and 16% could not find UK candidates with the right skills - and warned that the industry needs to take apprenticeships and graduate recruitment seriously to avoid long term implications.

Findings from the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) Winter Review 2008 have shown that while graduate vacancies will be over 16% higher than last year – making it the highest level this decade – the insurance sector will be one of only two sectors not anticipating any growth in graduate recruitment.

The Incomes Data Services poll of employers (Pay and Progression for Graduates) also supports this trend: financial services employers likely to recruit 15% fewer graduates this year compared with the manufacturing industry, where full order books and skills shortages mean a 32% increase in graduate recruitment in 2008.

CII relationship manager for further and higher education Caspar Bartington said: “A sea change will be required in the parity of esteem – as so often, anything not purely academic is looked down on by many – and the key is to educate people about the different routes into employment, whether through university, college, Apprenticeship or none of these.”

Bartington added employers were slowly grasping the reality that many university degrees are becoming devalued and that the apprenticeship route is more attractive to the young, bright school-leavers and college students not going to university. “It’s key for employers to get involved in the programme, particularly in the Financial Services sector which hasn’t traditionally engaged with Apprenticeships in the past, and with a skills shortage already identified for claims, continuation of this trend can only augur badly for the industry.”

The CII launched its own graduate recruitment drive – The Talent Initiative – in October 2006 which won the award for the ‘Best integrated marketing campaign’ at the 2007 AGR awards ceremony and was short listed at the Target National Graduate Recruitment awards.