Nearly three-quarters of employers are less interested in college degrees than a decade ago, according to new research from global recruitment platform Indeed.
With Level A results day just two days away (18e August), employers say that qualifications are not as important as they once were, but soft skills are more so.
Four in five employers (81%) say that provided a candidate has the right attitude, they would invest more in those looking for an entry-level position without a degree.
This flexibility and willingness to nurture and develop talent is indicative of the hiring landscape – where recent ONS statistics show the number of vacancies from April to June 2022 hit an all-time high of 1,142 000.
As demand for workers continues to exceed pre-pandemic levels and labor shortages persist, employers are showing signs of more openness than ever when it comes to qualifications.
87% of employers would value a positive attitude at work over entry-level job qualifications and 78% value candidates who are passionate about the job more than those with a degree.
Employers also believe that a strong work ethic (62%) and a willingness to learn (63%) are the top attributes of people most likely to succeed in their careers. these soft skills are valued six times more than having a solid university degree (13%) or a high A level (11%).
Transparency and guidance on entry-level jobs needed for A-level students
However, that message doesn’t always get through to students who still largely believe employers are looking for college graduates (87%), and 53% think it would give them more options for their future careers.
It is perhaps unsurprising that students feel this way, with nearly a quarter (24%) unaware of other options outside of higher education or post-graduate degrees. Once this question is answered, nearly three in four (74%) admit that they would be more likely to go straight to an entry-level job if they knew a degree was not a necessity for their employer, 83% want more opportunities from employers to attract them into the job market.
As for results day itself, 41% say they would be less nervous about opening that important envelope if a good job, despite everything, was on the table. Entry-level roles on Indeed’s platform have grown by 51% since 2019, with some offering starting salaries above the national average. Fiber network engineers earn the highest salary of any entry-level position, earning an average salary of £34,600, followed by junior software engineers (£31,600), trainee engineers (£26,700) and recruiters (£26,600).
Cost of living crisis prompts some students to consider jobs over graduate school
Macroeconomic factors, such as the cost of living and the economic downturn, impact students’ future choices. Among students who want to enter the workforce directly, 55% don’t know where to start, and rising costs are pushing many more away from the traditional path of going to college before starting their careers. A staggering two-thirds (66%) would choose to go straight to work for monetary reasons (35% citing the cost of living and 32% saying college is too expensive).
Danny Stacy, Head of Talent Intelligence, UK and Ireland, commented:
“A-Level Results Day is an anxious and exciting time for students hoping to get the grades they need to get into college. But for hundreds of thousands of people who don’t plan on pursuing higher education, now is the time to assess what the future holds and to consider the jobs and careers available to them.
“The good news for those considering taking their first step up the ladder is that the job market seems to be in good shape and that also applies to entry-level positions, which are at their peak. high level for three years. Our research also suggests that employers are showing a greater willingness to look beyond academic credentials alone and consider attitudes and soft skills.
“There are more vacancies in the UK than unemployed, posing serious hiring challenges and our survey shows employers are showing greater flexibility in recruiting new talent, and potentially weaker.
“While recruitment should be driven by the skills the position demands, employers should also be open to thinking outside the box when looking to fill vacancies and taking a more flexible approach to candidate requirements.
“Young people can be the breath of fresh air needed by many struggling industries. What they lack in work experience, they make up for in a host of soft skills. Building a diverse workforce is conducive to performance – age diversification is no exception.
Research for Indeed was conducted online by Opinion Matters between 29/07/2022 and 02/08/2022 with a panel that resulted in responses from 514 employers/DMs aged 18+ and 501 students about to receive their results this year (2022). All research conducted adheres to the UK MRS Codes of Conduct (2019) and ICC/ESOMAR Global Research Guidelines. Opinion Matters is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and is fully compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act (2018).
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