One-third of businesses say their employees lack basic literacy and numerical skills, a survey found.
A survey of British business by the PwC found that most felt that the education system was not preparing young people for the world of work.
Fifty percent said their organization would be more productive if the education system was better prepared for future employment. 89 percent say it is important for young people to be assessed more than academic ability.
In January, the commission estimated that education reform would boost the UK economy by £ 125 billion.
The study concludes that better preparing young people for the work world, such as helping students develop better time management, team skills and resilience, can increase productivity and help young people find jobs and career opportunities.
PwC’s research shows that a significant number of businesses lack basic skills.
Thirty-five percent said they lacked basic skills in reading, writing, and numeracy. A similar number is expected to see a decline in literacy next year.
39 percent also felt that they lacked personal skills such as time management and problem solving. Thirty-three percent think they are struggling to find employees with strong skills in leadership, networking and communication. Forty percent feared they would fight to find people with creativity and entrepreneurship next year.
Kevin Ellis, chairman and senior partner at PwC UK, who is addressing the commission’s summit in London today, said: “Fundamental numbers and literacy should be given. We also need other skills that stand the test of time, such as empathy, resilience and agility. You can’t predict all future jobs, but you can predict the mentality needed to adapt and prepare. “
Last year Dame Sharon White, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, told the commission it needed to teach basic literacy and numeracy to teen employees. He said many had been “completely failed” by the education system, and some could have taught for ten to 12 years but lacked effective literacy.
Even if they develop “imaginary human skills,” it’s something that is often acquired outside of education, he said.
89 percent of employers say it is important to consider skills outside of academic performance for evaluation. While most businesses say the testing system is useful for teaching young people to work under pressure, 19 percent say it does not help students develop teamwork and collaborative skills. As a result, 74 percent of employers use their own assessment techniques as well as considering an applicant’s academic history. Seventeen percent use only their own methods and completely waive the educational qualifications of the candidates.
Ellis says: “The exams have their place but they can be influenced by someone’s background and the opportunities they are given. They are not the best measure of probability. Employers will lose talent if they measure it through a single lens. “
Thirty-eight percent of those who do not consider qualifications said it helped recruit staff from a more diverse background than relying on traditional markers for their performance.
Sir James Dyson and Sir Richard Branson are lobbying for significant changes in the education system to improve Britain’s economic fortunes.
Dyson told the commission: “Children are creative, they love to create and create things. . . But as they get closer to GCSEs and A-levels that is excluded from them. It’s all about root-learning, not about using your imagination. The system doesn’t measure creativity, it measures what you can remember about other people’s events. “