Research finds graduates lack literacy skills

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A staggering 40% of Australian employers say graduate employees lack the literacy skills they would expect to see from university degree recipients. Could the Canadian numbers be just as bad?

The result of the latest research from the Australian Industry Group (AiGroup) found that in addition to poor literacy, based on the responses of 500 local employers, some 36% are also dissatisfied with graduates’ numeracy.

For Chief executive Innes Willox, it’s a difficult pill to swallow. “Our looming literacy and numeracy deficits and the comparative disadvantage we are placing ourselves in while we seek to compete in an increasingly globalised economy mean that if we aren't in a crisis now, our workplaces of the future certainly will be," Willox told a national universities forum in Canberra. While employers accept they must offer on-the-job training, he said universities are not turning out graduates with the calibre of skills expected by employers, and numbers strongly reflect that.

The results of the as-yet unpublished survey show that confidence is better in in areas such as planning and organising (49.3%) and initiative and enterprise (50.9%). “It is hard, however, to look past the figure that only 58% of employers are satisfied or very satisfied with basic literacy and English of graduates," he added.

WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry advocacy general manager Tim Bray told The West Australian that some members were concerned about the English standards of graduates but this could be attributed to a range of factors across the education system. “Employers also have a role to play,” he said. “There is an opportunity to identify good talent by encouraging more work placements opportunities for students at under graduate and graduate programs to better understand the workforce requirements needed.”

Have you experienced poor literacy and numeracy skills among your graduate workforce?


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