Education & Family

Students: 'Better at cracking jokes than taking risks'

Lecture hall
Image caption Students face tough competition when they enter the jobs market

Students are good at making friends and cracking jokes, but are poor at managing time and taking risks, a survey suggests.

Research into 1,000 UK students' strengths for an accounting firm suggests they are weakest at overcoming fears and being resilient.

Ernst and Young said only 25% of graduates they interviewed had the skills needed to work for them.

The firm added that a good degree no longer guaranteed a job.

The latest jobless figures show about a fifth of 16 to 24-year-olds are out of work, making competition for jobs all the more intense.

'Sense of humour'

The research for the firm, which receives 18,000 applicants for 800 graduate trainee posts and 700 intership placements each year, used a psychological assessment to test 60 characteristics needed for the world of work.

It found students scored best in problem solving, taking pride in their work, and being true to themselves, as well as building relationships and having a sense of humour.

But it also suggested they could struggle to recover from set-backs, did not make the most of their time, and were not so good at making themselves stand out from the crowd, overcoming fears and taking risks.

The head of recruitment for Ernst and Young, Stephen Isherwood, said high youth unemployment meant that getting a degree from a good university was no longer a guarantee of getting a job.

He added: "Relationship development and problem solving are key attributes that we look for in our trainees.

"But the candidates who end up with job offers also demonstrate determination and resilience, and are able to work hard and thrive in difficult situations.

"We need to know that they are going to be able to cope if they are sent half way across the world to work on a client project."

However, the survey also suggested 87% of students are positive about achieving their career aspirations.

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