Australian businesses claim the education system often fails to prepare employees, and prospective employees, for careers in their workplaces.
A new report, The Future of Talent, released last November by Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ), reveals businesses are turning to on-the-job training, mentoring and on-line courses to fill the gap.
The survey asked nearly 800 Australian business leaders about desirable skills, career path changes, skill shortages, how to attract and retain staff, and the role of education. The participants were from all sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, construction, hospitality, logistics, IT, professional services, accounting, finance and healthcare.
Only 42% said the current education system do a good job of preparing people for careers in their organisation.
Geraldine Magarey, Leader of Policy and Thought Leadership at CA ANZ, said this demonstrated “a lack of confidence by organisations in the education sector’s ability to equip the future workforce with the skills they will need”.
The report says these shortcomings have been acknowledged by the education sector, and “leading universities in New Zealand and Australia are introducing new courses, curriculums and entry criteria with a view to better preparing students for the workforce of the future”.
Magarey said schools also need to broaden their measures of success and learning, including encouraging skills like critical thinking, communication, collaboration and ethical understandings.
Communication skills were considered most important by 90% of the business leaders, problem solving ranked second, while adaptability and agility ranked third. Magarey said the results showed that, despite advancements in technology, business leaders see human skills as being more important than ever.
“Businesses need to be flexible in relation to hours, locations where employees can work and leave entitlements too,” Magarey added. “These initiatives help to increase the talent pool and the employees they can attract.”
A copy of the report is available at www.charteredaccountantsanz.com.