Employers reduce job opportunities by using degrees to screen candidates


A new study by the CIPD highlights that the majority of employers (57%) still primarily look for degrees or post-graduate qualifications when recruiting staff. By focusing so narrowly on qualifications, employers could miss out on key talent, exacerbate skills gaps and reduce job opportunities for people.

In response, the CIPD calls on employers to focus on skills and experience rather than specific qualifications when considering job candidates and to invest in a range of professional training options to develop staff. existing. The call comes at a time when the UK is facing a tight labor market and businesses are struggling to find the skills they need in job applicants and their own workforce. work.

CIPD, the professional body for human resources and people development, surveyed more than 2,000 high-level decision makers on skills and found that:

  • Only 32% of employers have conducted a strategic workforce planning exercise in the past 12 months
  • 64% of employers believe that at least some of their employees lack some of the skills required to do their job effectively
  • The skills that employers have the most difficulty finding in job seekers are mostly technical skills (according to 68%).
  • Most employers look for specific qualifications when recruiting, only 24% do not.
  • More than half of employers (57%) of employers seek degrees or post-graduate qualifications from job seekers. According to the CIPD, this is often simply a matter of “screening” large volumes of applications and this can disadvantage job seekers with relevant experience, but not specific qualifications.
  • 46% of employers in England have heard of T-levels, which provide a professional pathway for young people to learn technical skills
  • Despite the continued emphasis on qualifications, a third of employers (33%) agreed that university/college applicants are either ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ ill-prepared for the world of work and school and college leavers even less so.

Lizzie Crowley, Skills Advisor for CIPD, said:

“Employers need to stop thinking that college degrees are the best indicator of a person’s potential on the job. They think they’re getting an “out of the box” capability rather than assessing the specific skills needed for the roles, then wonder why they have skills gaps. More employers need to take a strategic approach to skills to understand current and future needs.

“This means valuing a wider range of experiences and qualifications when recruiting for roles and understanding all the training and development options available to employers to develop existing staff.”

CIPD research also suggests that many employers are unaware of the training opportunities offered to them by higher education (HE) or continuing education (FE) institutions. Only a fifth (19%) currently have access to external training at FE colleges, and one in four (25%) use universities or other higher education institutions. Of those who did not receive training from these vendors, three in ten (29%) said they did not know why they did not have access to training from these vendors.

The CIPD warns that this disconnect presents a significant obstacle to the government’s vision of a revitalized college sector with employers at its heart, and to its broader goal of a “high-skilled, high-wage” economy.

Crowley continues:

“Too few employers are engaging with higher education institutions and employer awareness of government technical education reforms and new vocational training pathways remains low. If government reforms are to succeed, there is an urgent need to raise awareness and share examples of the positive impact tertiary institutions can have on workforce skills development.


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