95 percent of UK companies plan to hire recent university graduates this year. However, only one in three employers (23%) believe that academic institutions are adequately preparing students for vacancies in their organisation, a survey from CareerBuilder has found.

More than half of employers (54%) believe that universities are preparing graduates for ‘some roles, but not all’ and 19 percent do not feel graduates are being trained to an adequate level at all.

More than 400 employers took part in the online survey which asked employers to identify which skills they think graduates are lacking. The top areas employers identified graduates to be lacking in were problem-solving skills (40%), creative thinking (39%) and oral communication (37%).

Scott Helmes, managing director of CareerBuilder UK, says:

“Though nearly all UK companies plan to hire recent graduates, the vast majority of these do not feel students are adequately prepared for the workforce. This finding underscores the need for companies to work more closely with educational institutes to ensure graduates are developing the skills that growing businesses need.”

Among the most desirable degrees for employers, 35 percent hold business degrees as the most in-demand in their company, closely followed by computer and information sciences (20%). Other in-demand degrees include, engineering degrees (16%), maths and statistics (15%) and law and legal degrees (14%).

The results also found that a third of employers (42%) are planning to offer higher starting salaries to recent graduates compared with last year. 47 percent of employers expect salaries to stay the same, and 11 percent expect to offer lower starting salaries.

Although this doesn’t mean salaries are fixed, as 71 percent of employers say they are open for negotiations with recent graduates when extending job offers.

The majority of employers (83%) also say they are willing to negotiate and provide a variety of perks with job offers. The most popular benefits employers are willing to negotiate are flexible hours (41%), bonuses (26%), reimbursements for additional training (26%) and paying for a company phone (23%).

Skills employers identified graduates are lacking:

Problem-solving skills 40%
Creative thinking 39%
Oral communication 37%
Teamwork 34%
Written communication 33%
Leadership 32%
Project management 24%
Research and analysis 19%
Maths 17%
Computer and Technical 17%