Posted by Daniela ● 29 March 2018

New Survey Shows Internships Help Tackle Graduate Skills Gaps

3 min read

Stephen Isherwood, Chief Executive of the ISE, ushered these words this week:

"Interns are not only better prepared for work, but they also tend to perform better and stay longer".


Yesterday, the ISE's Student Development Conference took place, which is an annual event for all professionals in Early Careers learning and development. With all the positive energy around apprenticeships, it's wonderful to hear that internships and work experience for university students still cut through the noise, have their limelight and celebrate everything we believe they're designed to achieve.

The ISE Development Survey 2018, which launched at the conference, found that 63% of employers believed graduates who had undertaken work experience had the required soft skills, yet less than half (48%) thought this of graduates in general.

Stephen Isherwood said:

“These findings strengthen the business case for starting, expanding and improving work experience opportunities. Interns are not only better prepared for work, but they also tend to perform better and stay longer."


The skills gaps highlighted demonstrate a trend for graduate employers, with the main 'gaps' being interpersonal skills that are naturally harder to teach through academia, and much more aligned to practical experiences within businesses.

skills gaps

 We've spent the last 10 years working with forward-thinking companies who invest in undergraduates through their internship, placement and work experience programmes. They (like us) believe that recruiting and retaining the best talent is the most effective way to resource their business.

joeyWith it being three times more cost effective to hire undergraduates compared to graduates, undergraduates joining you are more prepared for the world of work and then end up staying with you for longer... As Joey from Friends says, what's not to like?

On that note, we wholeheartedly support Stephen's message and agree that undergraduates are the most effective and cost effective way to resource your business. Let us know if you'd like us to support you in your early attraction strategy.

ISE Development Survey

The ISE Development Survey is an annual research project of how employers are approaching graduate training programmes. The 2018 survey analysed responses from 173 employers who hired 19,630 graduates in 2017 and were estimated to spend more than £95 million on their training and development. Responses to this survey were collected between November 2017 and January 2018.

Topics: Industry Insights, RMP News

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