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Thursday, October 4th, 2001

The increase in the proportion of school leavers who now go on to University or other higher education has raised the question of whether there are enough applicants to fill jobs that do not require more qualified entrants, and whether over-qualification of applicants is becoming a problem. At the same time, views have been expressed that school leavers at 16 do not have adequate skills in the basic '3Rs'. Our first three questions in the September Survey addressed these issues: Results are summarised here but for the complete analysis please visit


  • The fear of shortage of non-graduate applicants does not seem very well-founded at present - 64% still do not appoint graduates to these posts at all, but only 37.5% thought there was no shortage at all of non-graduate applicants. On the '3Rs', only 6.6% of businesses responding agreed that 16 year old school leavers are well equipped with key skills such as written communication and numeracy, while 34.6% were neutral and 58.9% disagreed.

  • The next two questions related to expected economic growth. The Survey went out very shortly after the horrific terrorist attack on the US, but even so over half of respondents expect the number of vacancies to be unchanged over the next 3 - 6 months, while 33.3% expect vacancies to increase. On growth, just over a third of companies feel that there will be no change in their particular sector of the economy, while 44.8% expect some decline. 20.6% expect some growth.

  • Rapidly changing electronic technology can bring benefits but also costs and problems along with the need to keep abreast of competitors. On computer equipment, 44.9% expect to upgrade between every 2 - 4 years, with another 37.5% expecting to upgrade every 6 months - 2 years. With mobile phones, respondents expect to have to change slightly earlier overall - 55.1% will be upgrading after 1 - 2 years, with a further 29% expecting to upgrade between 2 - 4 years.

  • The Core Questions responses showed the following results this month:

  • Constraint on businesses due to shortages of skills increased a little on average compared to August.

  • There was an easing back by a further 3% on businesses highly constrained by lack of finance in September, and the overall average also showed an easing back.

  • Average constraint due to low market demand was lower.

  • The profile of growth over the previous quarter in September did not differ significantly from that in August and expectations about growth over the next quarter were also pretty much the same in September compared to August. / Tel: 0115 84 66860.

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