Majority of employers in Pakistan dissatisfied with recent graduates

08 May 2019 3 min. read

The majority of graduates in Pakistan are not up to scratch, according to a survey of local employers conducted by business consultancy Naqeebz Consulting.

In its latest wide-reaching ‘Graduate Employability: Employers Perception Survey’ report – which took in the views of business and HR executives at more than 200 companies collectively employing some 500,000 people in Pakistan – local advisory Naqeebz Consulting has found that a staggering 78 percent of respondents were dissatisfied with the quality of fresh graduates.

Canvassing businesses throughout the country across 25 industries – including the professional services sector (with the local branches of Deloitte and EY among those taking part) – the report shows this lack of satisfaction rises again to nearly nine out when accounting for the C-suite level alone, with the new recruit’s knowledge, skills, and abilities not reflecting the grades obtained given as the most common reason for the overwhelming dissatisfaction (60 percent).C-suite dissatisfaction with graduates in PakistanOthers prominent reasons given for the shortfall in expectations included a lack of commercial awareness and high salary expectations (~55 percent) on behalf of candidates along with poor personal presentation, unable to express their ideas or thoughts, not ready to take initiative, and poor written and soft skills (all cited at above 40 percent). Even poor attitudes were cited by 28 percent of respondents.

It wasn’t however all negative. When quizzed on specific areas of satisfaction, half of the Pakistani employers believed graduates had a good attitude and demonstrated adaptability, while more than half considered fresh graduates to have good basic IT skills, that they were ready to learn new skills, and were able to express their ideas and thoughts. Few, however – just 7% – cited good interview skills as a positive.Reasons for dissatisfaction with graduates in PakistanDigging deeper, the survey revealed an apparent disconnect between employers’ needs and undergraduate goals, with high grades and volunteer work of little interest (cited by only 18 percent of respondents). Here, the trait most valued by employers was technical and professional skills (79 percent), followed by relevant qualifications and soft skills – the latter most commonly with respect to positive attitudes and confidence.

Good verbal communication and critical thinking skills were also of high importance, especially when considering future demand. Of the companies surveyed, over 55 percent indicated that they would require business development professionals in the coming three or so years, with human resource management, digital marketing, marketing and business analysis employees also high on the needs-list.

According to report’s lead contributor, Naqeebz Consulting founder and CEO Muhammad Moazam Shahbaz, the objective is to assess the skills gap of the Pakistani graduates and stimulate enhanced dialogue between education and business stakeholders through collaborative engagement, with recommendations given to improve the instructional design & teacher training material, initiate skills development programmes, and renew methods of assessments.