The UK skills gap has been well covered by academic and mass media.  Irrespective of viewpoint on whose fault this is, the one common belief appears to be that UK businesses feel let down by Universities.  A series of damning reports have concluded that our graduates do not have the required skills to transition in to successful early careers, with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) labelling UK school leavers as the worst in Europe for essential skills.

Initiatives such as Backing Soft Skills have been highlighting the importance of soft skills to business.  Backing Soft Skills is being led by Dragons Den James Caan and McDonalds UK.  They concluded:

  • Soft skills – such as communication, teamwork and time management – are worth £88bn to the UK economy.
  • 97% of UK employers highlight the importance of soft skills to commercial success.

Having input from the business community in to employability is clearly welcome.  However, whilst their research in to soft skills is compelling, one topic appears to be near ignored by employability and careers professionals – data.  The Advisory Practice at Career Design has recently completed a major research study in to the key skills required by the London business community.  Yes, soft skills were frequently mentioned but it was the ability to manage and manipulate data which was highlighted most frequently.

Innovation and data are perhaps the two disciplines driving businesses in London in 2015 – yet they appear broadly absent from higher education curriculum.  This will surely change but this disconnect between business requirements and graduate skills should be of concern to employability and careers advisors as well as course leaders.

We are still putting the final touches to our whitepaper on the data skills gap, but do contact Tom Lakin to register your interest –