Demos have just produced a report on the attitudes and aspirations of this year’s graduates for the insurers, Endsleigh. It’s called the Class of 2010, and has included the eye-catching recommendation that careers services should adopt a ‘recruitment consultancy model’.
I’m not sure that the recommendation about careers services, and another finding, that
Overall, graduates feel that they are not getting enough support from their careers services when it comes to preparing for work or securing jobs
are actually evidenced in the report. There seems to be little discussion of careers service provision, and none of the graduates quoted seems to actually say anything like this. Where, then, did these recommendations and this statement about careers services not providing enough support, come from? It's an interesting suggestion and rather a bold one, and if it's well-supported it would be great to see that argument laid out robustly.
The report also states that
there is a noticeable lack of soft skill development amongst graduates.
I don’t think that the research, as quoted, supports that either.
The authors quote research that employers value soft skills, but this is not a startling revelation. The graduates surveyed seem to feel that they cannot articulate the skills that they have very well, but not that they are lacking in development. In fact, the report notes that the graduates feel they do have the necessary skills, and that they do develop them at university and there is some implication that they feel that employers don’t always make it easy for them to display them. This does not seem to translate into there being a ‘noticeable lack of soft skill development’, more that graduates may need support from their institutions in translating that into ‘employerese’.
In fact, that's what the report says in the excutive summary. Not only is this not exactly a fresh insight, it is also exactly what current careers services strive to do, and so seems to contradict the report’s first finding.
I'm really not sure how the authors have got from the research as cited, to the idea that careers services "should reconfigure themselves as not-for-profit recruitment consultancies". Nor am I sure that this research shows that graduates feel that careers services are not providing enough support to students, or that universities are not developing the soft skills of their students. These are quite important criticisms to make of institutions, and they'll want to know how the authors have come to these conclusions.
There are, however, some interesting views from graduates about their skills and experiences and about their frustration with employers - these make a useful read.
Am I missing something?