Magazine article Times Higher Education

We're So Clever, Students Claim

Magazine article Times Higher Education

We're So Clever, Students Claim

Article excerpt

But undergraduates' confidence in their abilities isn't echoed by employers, as Jack Grove reports.

Students tend to rate their abilities more highly than employers, according to the latest stage of a continuing study of almost 50,000 undergraduates.

The Futuretrack study, run by the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (Hecsu), has followed a cohort of students throughout their university careers, with the third stage assessing those finishing their final year.

Nearly 75 per cent of finalists said their written communication skills were either "excellent" or "very good", while 67 per cent rated their computer literacy highly.

Sixty-three per cent said their verbal communication skills were excellent or very good, while the figure was 57 per cent for creativity and leadership skills.

However, they were less bullish about their numeracy skills, with only 15 per cent rating themselves excellent and 30 per cent very good.

The students' confident evaluation of their overall abilities contrasts with a more critical assessment from employers.

The study's authors, Gaby Atfield and Kate Purcell, from the Institute for Employment Research at the University of Warwick, note that only 55 per cent of employers were satisfied with graduates' work-related skills, according to a 2007 report by the Institute of Directors.

Just a quarter of employers said they felt young people - graduates and non-graduates - were well-prepared for work, while 40 per cent said they were underprepared. …

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