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October 15, 2019

Almost a third (31%) of graduates say their degree didn't prepare them with the skills needed for their job. This is the result of a recent survey conducted by Axelos* among 810 graduates across the UK.

Similarly, 27% of respondents replied that, while looking for a job, they were asked about skills their degree hadn't covered.

The research, commissioned by Axelos to get better insights into the challenges graduates are facing after leaving university, also highlights that almost eight in 10 (76%) graduates feel that a degree should provide students with specific skills needed fora professional role.

A majority of respondents (68%) think that industry-recognized certification should have been part of their higher education. And more than nine in 10 of those graduates whose degree included a qualification say this has helped their career, e.g. allowed them to apply for certain jobs or improved their chances of a promotion or a pay rise. In addition, more than a third (36%) of respondents say their current role doesn’t meet the expectations they had before they decided to study.

Mark Basham, Chief Executive Officer at Axelos, comments: "We've heard so many times now that employers complain about the skills gap. But we now hear the other side of the story and it's graduates themselves who also see that there is a problem.

"Higher education institutions continue to play a crucial role in preparing graduates to face the challenges of modern-day business environments. However, one way to support students even better in their future employability is to offer industry-recognized certifications.

"Axelos has its own Academia programme through which universities can offer our globally recognized certifications such as ITIL® or PRINCE2® to their curriculum. This can help ensure that graduates enter the job market with practical skills and knowledge, which will benefit not only the graduates themselves but also UK industry. In the US for example, over 4,000 students will graduate from universities this year with an ITIL certification as part of their degree.

"Employability is vital for those who need to see an almost instant return on tuition fees. Including a vocational certification as part of their learning curriculum will equip graduates with the skills and confidence to succeed in what is a very competitive job market."

Axelos is currently in discussion with over 30 interested institutions from around the world, including Canada, the Netherlands, Latvia, Austria, Uganda, India and Australia.

*The survey was carried out between 11 and 20 September 2019 among 810 graduates in the UK. All participants graduated within the past five years.