Graduates missing entrepreneurial skills needed to succeed

Entrepreneurial traits

Research reveals mismatch between what graduates and employers think are entrepreneurial traits.

Business leaders have found that today’s graduates need to develop an entrepreneurial skillset in order to excel in their career, a new study has revealed

Over a third of employers feel graduates are missing key entrepreneurial skills needed to succeed in business, despite the majority of graduates being confident they possess them. Individuals with an entrepreneurial mindset are often masters in soft skills such as problem solving, teamwork and communication.

The study of employers and graduates discovered a marked difference between what graduates and recruiters mean by having an entrepreneurial attitude.

According to the study, graduates believe they are taking proactive steps to develop their entrepreneurial skills, but over half of employers say there’s still more work to be done to help graduates realise their potential.

Aside from a candidate’s academic and technical qualifications, two fifths of employers say an entrepreneurial skillset is highly valued and the majority say it’s a key determiner for success.

When examining specific characteristics, over a quarter of employers say graduates’ drive and commitment to deliver results is their strongest trait, but looking at which skills need further development, commercial awareness was top of the list.

The top five traits employers think graduates need to develop:

1) Commercial awareness (44%)

2) Ability to sell and close a deal (36%)

3) Ability to network (21%)

4) Communication, negotiation and persuasiveness skills (16%)

5) Innovation and creative thinking (12%)

At interview stage, employers say graduates struggle to answer questions around demonstrating commercial awareness, delivering results and problem solving.

The study looked at entrepreneurial figures to find out who graduates and employers identified with most. Graduates cited Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as the most inspiring, whereas employers feel James Dyson is the most admirable. The higher people get up the ladder, the more likely they are to choose innovators with staying power over tech billionaires.

Jonathan Fitchew, CEO and Founder of Pareto Law commented on the study: “Soft skills associated with entrepreneurialism are key for graduates to secure a well-matched grad-level job and ultimately succeed in their career.

“Traits like communication, negotiation and commercial awareness are highly important if graduates want to excel. However, the majority say they’re rarely asked in interview situations about their entrepreneurial skills.

“Today’s graduates are the first real digital natives. They live in an ‘always-on’ culture which has made them more adaptive and reactive than ever before. If employers can harness the raw entrepreneurial traits inherent in today’s graduates and train them to hone these skills effectively, they will transform them into future powerhouses of business”.