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Moving between jobs in early career is good for graduates, report says

Graduates who move between sectors and job roles in their early careers are highly valued by employers, according to a new report.

Being able to adapt to change and perform different functions adds significant value to the specialist knowledge of graduates, a study by the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) found.

A report on the findings, Career Portfolios and the Labour Market for Graduates and Postgraduates in the UK, is the first in a series of NCUB studies commissioned by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Employers said that in some sectors, the degree subject is no longer sufficient to identify the best candidates and that in a modern economy, they seek agile staff who can adapt to rapidly changing conditions.

“Job-to-job mobility serves as a channel for gaining the readiness skills reported in short supply by employers,” the report concludes.

David Docherty, Chief Executive of the NCUB, said it was increasingly important that universities collaborate with businesses to make sure graduates leave university ready for the modern workplace.

“Improving the transition between education and employment is vital to ensuring graduates can fulfill their potential to be a key part of our economic future,” he said.
“Our business members have made it clear to us that it is difficult to predict changes in demand for skills with any accuracy. As a result, employees with the ability to adapt to new circumstances are increasingly valuable in the modern workplace.”

Chris Millward, associate director from HEFCE said: “The debate on subjects studied in higher education and graduate jobs can often be focused on a short-term and simplistic assumption that employer demand can be compared with university supply.
“This report helpfully raises our sights beyond this, demonstrating a more dynamic relationship between higher education and the labour market.

“This presents a more realistic picture of the experience of graduates in the modern world, and thereby a better basis for policy and practice.  We look forward to working with NCUB as it takes this analysis into a new phase.”