What do employers really want from you and what do they value from your degree?

With the start of a new academic year already underway, thousands of students are leaving home for the first time to study at universities all over the world in the hope of getting their dream job in an area they are passionate about. We all know degrees are becoming less and less valued by the year, so it is important for anyone looking to achieve highly to have that ‘little bit extra’ that will put them ahead of the standard ‘Joe Bloggs’ applicant.

In a recent study, covering 635 employers, carried out by YouGov, it was revealed that employers thing that the majority of graduates (52%) leave without basic work skills. These attributes are the typical one’s you would expect such as team-work, resilience, punctuality and communication skills; these are things that employers simply expect you to have. The hard figures of this part of the study are as follows:

  • Only 20% of employers felt they hired graduates with good employability skills.
  • 52% of graduates are not ‘work ready’ when they first joined
    • 35% said few were ready
    • 17% said none were ready

LSE graduation dayThe Sunday Times Good University Guide will be published next weekend where you can find may statistics on UK universities, one of the areas looked at will be employability; because lets face it, that’s what we go to university for…right 😉

Naturally you will see that employment rates vary from uni to uni but the top 3, which will come as no surprise:

Success of graduates securing a professional job or continuing into further studies (masters, research etc)

  1. Imperial College London – 89.2%
  2. Cambridge University – 85.1%
  3. University of Bath – 83.6%

Where the bottom 3 Buckinghamshire New University at 43.7%, East London University and Highlands and Islands University were fractionally higher.

So what do these damn employers want from us? I’ve got a degree, I’ve worked hard and got into a load of debt to get where I am, what actually matters to you!? A lot of people think that which university you go to matters, and I would agree, I think the university you go to does matter. However, according to YouGov’s study, it is not as important as I thought. 8% of the 635 employers questioned thought that which university a job applicant attended was the most important factor, which surprised the hell out of me, but in a very pleasing way! Here’s the hard figures once again:

  • 8% of employers thought that the university attended by the applicant was the most important factor,
  • 17% said the overall grade was the most important,
  • but 61% said the choice of degree was what carried the most weight.

Hopefully this information will help you make some decisions in your coming years at uni.


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