Universities not stemming STEM shortfall
There are still not enough graduates with the rights skills coming out of UK universities. That seems to be the worrying finding of new research in the jobs market published by the CBI. Inevitably is it graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects which are in highest demand. According to the survey, 92% of firms want people with these skills. By 2014, it is expected that the UK will need to fill over three-quarters of a million extra jobs requiring highly numerate, analytical people with STEM skills, making a net total of 2.4 million of these jobs in six years’ time.
But there are already not enough STEM graduates to go round, six out of ten firms are having difficulty recruiting, and the low take-up of STEM subjects at university is a large part of the problem. There has been a 15% fall in engineering and technology graduates over the past decade. Employers are routinely looking abroad to hire STEM graduates. A third (36%) of larger firms are recruiting from India and 24% from China. According to the CBI’s deputy director-general, John Cridland: “This survey is an alarm call to students and universities, who may be surprised by just how much employers also value the ‘softer’ skills that make people more employable. This means being a good team-worker, communicator and problem-solver is vital and getting work experience goes a long way with a future employer.” For more see the CBI/Edexcel Education & Skills Survey 2008