Graduate Employability: Employers’ Perception Survey Report 2018 finds employers did not hire fresh graduates merely on basis of ‘high grades’

 

One of the major failings of the Pakistani higher education system is the discord between the curriculum and the needs of the industry. Most graduates that make their way into the Pakistani job market have no clue about what the employers expect of them or what are the skills needed to perform in a particular role.

The education and skill gap in our youth has been widening for years, and on the job training to make young graduates skilled enough to work in a certain job role has been costing valuable resources to employers for long. This perception of inadequacy of our education system to prepare job-ready graduates has been formally recorded in probably the first-ever of its kind survey carried out recently.

Naqeebz Consulting, on Tuesday launched a research-based report, Graduate Employability: Employers’ Perception Survey Report 2018 to assess the skills gap in Pakistani graduates. The objective of the survey is to promote an enhanced dialogue between academicians, university authorities, and employers through collaborative multi stakeholder engagement. The report recommends a focus on the need to fast-track interventions required by improving the instructional design and teacher training material, initiating skills development programmes, and renewing methods of assessments.

Senior leaders say they are unhappy with the inability of graduates to justify their higher grades at just the interview or assessment stage.

Alarmingly, the results highlighted that a staggering 78% of the employers were not satisfied with the quality of fresh graduates. Senior leaders said they were unhappy with the inability of graduates to justify their higher grades at just the interview or assessment stage. This might be because 77% of employers are dissatisfied with the content and claims made by graduates on their CV/resume.

At least 82% of employers cited that they did not hire fresh graduates merely on the basis of ‘high grades’, as what was essentially required to support decision-making in the recruitment process was a blend of employability and enterprise skills as well as academic degrees.

More than 50% of the employers expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of commercial awareness/viability of the graduates.

 

Resultantly, more than 50% of the employers expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of commercial awareness/viability of the graduates. It is worth noting that 85% of businesses look for a positive attitude and 70% for confidence. Some 65% cited decision-making, verbal communication, teamwork, passion/enthusiasm and personal integrity as key criteria for hiring. Listed next were strong ‘analytical skills’, ‘time management’, and ‘critical thinking skills’ that comprised 50%.

Asked if they had ever been approached by HEIs or HEC for collaboration, 80% of the respondents responded in the negative. However, given a chance, almost all employers (96%) showed an interest in becoming partners or collaborators with HEC and HEIs to improve curriculum.

For the purpose, Naqeebz Consulting will provide the bridge between all stakeholders based on their feedback from domestic stakeholders and international experts. Naqeebz Consulting is committed to effectively initiating and anchoring a much-needed shift in bridging the gap between academia and industry in favor of a skilled Pakistani graduate.

For the survey, Naqeebz engaged 212 corporate respondents, including business owners, C-Level executives and HR leaders from a range of businesses, SMEs, large national corporations, and MNCs. A first multi stakeholder meeting was held in Lahore on January 5, 2019 in the presence of HEC officials and leading corporate houses. There, it was agreed that Naqeebz Consulting should continue to lead the National Capacity Skills Programme and work with them to integrate the National Employability and Enterprise Skills Program.

The 212 organizations engaged in the survey encompass 25 industries that collectively employ over 500,000 people. The data used in this report was provided by designated decision makers, including human resources executives, CEOs, and board members. To understand the holistic picture location wise, it was made sure that the survey respondents had their operations in Punjab (84%), Sindh (56%), KPK (42%), Balochistan (29%), Azad Kashmir (22%), Gilgit Baltistan (19%) and FATA (15%).  An impactful 30% had overseas operations as well.

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