Pearson College and Ashridge Business School have chosen the launch of the Annual CBI employers survey to announce their partnership. For the first time, the CBI survey included responses from new starters – employees less than two years out of full-time education just beginning their career at a business.
Despite the dangling the promise of the possibility of an iPad mini, only 106 new employees completed their survey. And it did not make promising reading for our friends in the Pearson press team, who were hoping to make an argument that new employees were crying out for workplace skills.
- More than two thirds (69%) of employees felt they already had the skills they needed for the role they had just started.
- Just under two thirds (60%) felt that workplace skills were already well covered by colleges and universities.
- 71% of new employees cited a “lack of work experience” as their main issue when starting a new job, 44% felt that their understanding of the world of work was an issue (p35, CBI report)
This is all, of course, assuming that you think a response of 106, from employers that employ only 4.9% of people in the UK, is in any way representative. You look in vain for any kind of control or compensation for any skew in these results.
The “new starters” had to be less than two years outside of full-time education, a fact not mentioned in the report or the press release. So maybe a lack of work experience, and of understanding concerning the world of work, is understandable in such cases?
But none of this inconvenient fact-based stuff was going to stop the Pearson College press team:
“The new research, conducted alongside the annual Pearson/CBI Skills survey, found that many new starters felt unprepared for the world of work:
Over 70% of those felt they lacked relevant work experience
Nearly a third of new starters (31%) thought they did not have the appropriate work skills when they started their first full time role
40% did not feel enough time and attention was given to acquiring these skills at school, college or university”
Wow. “Nearly a third” in this instance, means 32 people. The 70% is 70% of those 32 people… TWENTY TWO PEOPLE felt that in their first job after college they wished they’d had more experience of work. “Many new starters” – I suppose it would be “many” if they were all in a phone box.
That’s your world-beating press release leader right there. I wonder if Pearson College will actually manage to recruit 32 people this year? (I understand last year was around 60, 20 of those had their fees paid in full)
[APOLOGY: in the above paragraph, I insinuated that Pearson College recruited around 60 students last year. According to UCAS, the correct figure is 12, none of whom had Pearson College as their first or reserve choice.]
Pearson, as regular readers may know, have a history of looking for dodgy stats to support the argument that universities do not prepare student for the world of work.
At this stage I’d advise people to check ANY stats based press release on employability for spin and accuracy. If a real university used stats like these, they’d be laughed at.