global knowledge

British students may begin to lose out on job opportunities due to lack of global awareness

As markets, multinational companies and economies continue to grow, the competition for skilled employees increases in tandem. But why are British candidates being overlooked, and how are companies suffering?

The answer is simple: The global employability of British candidates is lower than students and school leavers from other countries. This is a globalised world that lacks global-minded candidates. Companies trading abroad find it very difficult to find employees with the skill sets necessary to integrate, and understand a working environment that is multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary, and multi-locational. According to the Global Skills Gap, a study from the British Council, more business leaders (79%) agree that awareness and knowledge of a wider world is important than believe that a degree subject or qualification is important (74%).

Each year, very few British students take advantage of the various ERASMUS programmes on offer. The ERASMUS programme enables students, from EU member states to study and work in other countries within Europe. Those who do take advantage of the programme are generally students studying foreign languages.

In 2010-2011, the University of Nottingham topped the table for students on ERASMUS programmes, with a less than impressive 538 students choosing to live abroad. The bigger picture shows the number of students going to the top 5 most popular destinations was 10,642, whereas 17,793 students came to the UK from these countries.

Who else is to blame?

Universities are not the only culpable parties. A natural curiosity to discover, and understand should be nourished by schools, parents, companies of all sizes, and the government. The students themselves need to take action, to research and grasp any opportunity to gain cultural awareness. Understanding the world is more than speaking a language, and a vast majority of businesses believe it is important to help develop the ability to think on a larger scale.

The study also found, teachers in schools often lack confidence when talking about the impact of emerging economies, and a global economy. The government and firms need to offer support, and illustrate worldwide business in action. For example, consultancy firm Accenture, who send their graduate employees as far afield as India to complete training courses.

As things stand, however, the high value sectors of the economy will be badly hit. If enterprises are no longer attracted to the human capital that exists in the UK, nor want to maintain large offices there, there may be a significant reduction in investment. Young people will miss out on job opportunities, as firms seek to employ candidates from further afield, or want to be based elsewhere.

Image: Provided by Tax Credits,