Graduates must look beyond their discipline for the best start in their careers

Kate LaughrinKate Laughrin, Head of Consulting Operations, writes on business enablement and transformation

Research reported in yesterday’s Financial Times shows the graduate recruitment market picking up some of the momentum it has been lacking over the last few years. This is welcome, not only from the point of view of final year students now applying for graduate roles to start this Summer, but also for the economy as a whole. Increasing graduate recruitment is indicative of employers in the higher-skilled parts of the economy gaining greater confidence to invest for the future.

However, there are some surprising aspects to the research, not least in the technology industry, where a much-publicised skills gap is clearly not being filled by recent graduates. Computing graduates have one of the lowest employment rates of those in any sector. The conclusion must be that the skills employers need are perhaps not those that graduates are leaving university equipped with.

There is an interesting parallel in the world of finance. Although graduates from finance-related courses do not tend to struggle with initial employment, a recent paper from the global Association of Finance Professionals (AFP) suggests that there is a skill shortage, or perhaps an ambition shortage, once finance professionals (particularly FP&A specialists) reach a more senior level. Many finance professionals lack the necessary desire to engage with other parts of the business, and drive organisational change.

The need for finance specialists to do this is obvious. But the need for technology professionals to do the same is no less pressing. Even in the most traditional industries, companies that want to succeed need to make the most of the technologies that are available to support their decision-making process, and help them understand their competitive environment. Doing so requires finance and technology professionals who understand the part they have to play in helping the leaders of the business make better decisions.

Awareness of the needs of business leaders, and the ability to meet those needs, are equally important for today’s finance and technology professionals. Of course, there is a limit to how much of that awareness can be taught on a university course – much of it must be learnt in an actual business – but graduates should still realise that this is the purpose of the teams they will be joining. If they aspire to be part of one, then they will need to raise their horizons, to take in not just the full scope of their own discipline, but the strategic context of businesses they aspire to help, and what they must do to tackle their competition.

At Metapraxis, these are the qualities we look for in all our new recruits. Our strength is the calibre of our team, and applications for next year’s intake of technology and consulting graduates close on January 31st 2016. We’re looking for those who are not only outstanding in their own field, but who have a passion for business, and can quickly interpret the challenges faced by a complex organisation. If you think you’ve got what it takes, or you know someone who does, then please click here to find out more.

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