Hertfordshire Employers' Skills Framework Survey

  • Brown, Christopher (PI)

Project: Consultancy

Project Details


The Hertfordshire Employers’ Skills Framework (HESF) survey is a research study commissioned jointly by the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and Hertfordshire County Council to help understand the employers’ perspective of young people skills. The survey set out to enlighten and provide a deeper understanding of what are the different sector employer skills needs for young people (16 – 24 year olds).
The findings highlight the different importance that sector employers put on the 12 specific skills identified in the framework, and their perceptions of the ‘work readiness’ of school, college and university leavers. The study also highlights the importance of the three specific Gatsby benchmarks[1] (4, 5 & 6) and the link to the ranking of the ‘personal and people’ and ‘technical and practical’ skills.
The outcome of this study is both the ranking of the 12 skills, and the production of a working rubric sheet, detailing the approach that schools, colleges or university learners take to collate this knowledge, skills and experience and use it to find their first job. This is only a start, and the intention is that a further study be commissioned to work with schools, colleges and universities to operationalise this rubric for all of the career pathways that a leaver may choose.

Layman's description

A previous skills gap study conducted by the Hertfordshire Business School Market Research Unit (HBSMRU) on behalf of the Hertfordshire LEP shed light on the importance of young people entering the job market with the relevant essential and valuable employability skills they would need (HBSGS, 2015). We especially would like to thank the many colleagues of the HBS, Hertfordshire LEP and the wider business community who were invaluable in their contribution to this particular research data analysis and reporting. For the purposes of this HESF study, and report, the definition of employability skills used for the survey, interviews and any other discussion forums was:
‘A set of attributes, skills and knowledge that enables individuals to be effective in today’s changing work contexts.’ [2]
The report concludes with the ranking of the most essential, valuable and desirable skills across seven key sectors in Hertfordshire, determined by the latest Hertfordshire LEP strategy (see www.hertfordshirelep.com). These are then compared back to the original 12 employability knowledge, skills and experience factors, and a rubric employability knowledge, skills and experience matrix created.

Key findings

The original definition of employability by Yorke and Knight (2006) defined it as:
‘A set of achievements – skills, understandings and personal attributes – that make individuals more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations, which benefits themselves, the workforce, the community and the economy (Yorke and Knight, 2006:8)’
What this definition does is stress that employability, and its many traits, mindfulness and attributes is a work in progress throughout one’s working life.
What is consistent throughout both the primary research carried out under the HESF study, and that collected during the extensive documentary research of past-research carried out on employers and other stakeholders, is the overall desire that school, college and university leavers possess a set of core knowledge, skills and experience traits [36]. These employability skills are more important than the degree subject and class of degree, and is supported by over 81% of Hertfordshire employers surveyed in this study [36]. In the previous sub-sections the researchers have tried to link the ranking of the ‘people and personal’ and the ‘technical and practical’ skills to the particular employer challenges each of them face in their respective sector. Finally, the researchers have started to work on a skills metric framework for use by schools, colleges and universities. The intention is that students can then map their own achievements against this, and therefore determine the areas they need to focus on based on the sector they would like to enter. This framework still needs some work, see table 4.4 below, but this needs to be done in collaboration with all education providers and employers, phase two of this project.
Short titleHESF survey
Effective start/end date31/07/1731/01/19


  • H Social Sciences (General)


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