University of Hertfordshire

South-east England Graduate Skills Mis-match: Graduate Employability

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


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Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Hertfordshire
Number of pages38
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2019


The challenges of the Graduate Professional Attraction and Retention How often are reminded of this by various government and other institutional reports? The UK Commission for Employability Skills (UKCES) in their extensive report looking at young people suggested that school, college and university leavers have most of the core skills, but just lack experience (UKCES 2018). Other national and sector reports talk frequently about the importance of attracting and retaining young talent and its criticality to the future success of the UK’s economy (Swinney and Maire Williams 2016). Addressing the issues of graduates moving away from the various regions to go to cities, and then a significant majority of these fresh graduates heading straight for the bright lights of the capital. In the south-east of England the challenges for Micro- and Small-Enterprises (M&SEs) is even larger, with London accounting for almost 22 per cent of all new graduate opportunities (Swinney and Maire Williams 2016). In the M&SE sector, especially those requiring STEM-skilled graduate professional staff, the issues of attraction and retention are particularly challenging. This preliminary research study explores some of the patterns in graduate recruitment amongst micro- and small-enterprises utilizing graduates as a means to enhancing their professional staff’s stem skills gaps.


My work at the University of Hertfordshire affords me the opportunity to work both the entrepreneurial owner-managed enterprises searching for support and advice to grow, and with the support agencies like Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and Hertfordshire Growth Hub. The last four years has seen me deliver four research studies with the Hertfordshire LEP on skills gaps across the seven key sectors in Hertfordshire, and its impact on Small- to Medium-size Enterprises in increasing revenue, growth and improved productivity. Within the Hertfordshire Business School I have been a core leader in business engagement programmes providing market opportunity identification and strategy formation for micro-and small businesses. My mentoring and leadership on national Knowledge Transfer partnerships and regional knowledge transfer programmes have seen me assist and coach small businesses in developing growth strategies. In all of these activities the entrepreneur owner-manager has received and used this to develop their leadership and management skills and so improve the sustainability and improved productivity of their transformative business model.

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