A report released today by the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) and funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has found that being able to adapt to change and perform different functions adds significant value to the specialist knowledge of graduates. The finding that graduates who move between sectors and job roles early in their career are more valued than those who do not move, may come as a surprise to graduates and HE providers, for whom advice has emphasised a focus on developing skills and experience in a particular subject or sector of employment.

The report entitled ‘Career Portfolios and the Labour Market for Graduates and Postgraduates in the UK’ is the first in a series of NCUB reports commissioned by HEFCE on business requirements for graduate and postgraduate skills. Employers said that in some sectors the degree subject is no longer sufficient to identify the best candidates and that in a modern economy they seek agile staff who can adapt to rapidly changing conditions.

David Docherty, Chief Executive of NCUB, said:

“Our business members have made it clear to us that it is difficult to predict changes in demand for skills with any accuracy. As a result, employees with the ability to adapt to new circumstances are increasing valuable in the modern workplace.

“It is important that universities and businesses increase collaboration to make sure that graduates are leaving education ready for the modern workplace.

“Improving the transition between education and employment is vital to ensuring graduates can fulfil their potential to be a key part of our economic future.”

Chris Millward, Associate Director from HEFCE said:

“The debate on subjects studied in higher education and graduate jobs can often be focused on a short-term and simplistic assumption that employer demand can be compared with university supply.  This report helpfully raises our sights beyond this, demonstrating a more dynamic relationship between higher education and the labour market. 

“This presents a more realistic picture of the experience of graduates in the modern world, and thereby a better basis for policy and practice.  We look forward to working with NCUB as it takes this analysis into a new phase.”

Download the full report.

CFE’s summary report for the NCUB entitled ‘Industry graduate skills needs’ also available.


Editors’ notes

About the National Centre for Universities and Business

The National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) develops, promotes and supports world-class collaboration between universities and business across the UK. Our aim is to find practical ways of harnessing the talent being developed in our universities, and the UK’s strength in ground-breaking research and development, for the benefit of the nation’s economy.

Drawing on the 25 years’ experience of our predecessor body, the Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE), NCUB is committed to a programme of research, policy development and practical partnerships. From facilitating collaborative R&D, to developing the entrepreneurial and employability skills of students at all stages of their education, NCUB is working to support UK business and higher education in a competitive global market.

NCUB’s Leadership Council includes many of the UK’s most successful businesses and universities.

Website – www.ncub.co.uk

Twitter – @NCUBtweets

NCUB Chief Executive, Dr David Docherty and Press Officer Will Hoyles are available for further comment or media appearances.

NCUB press phone – 07772512519

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