Less than half employed graduates felt ‘prepared for work’ according to a new survey conducted by Work Ready Graduates. Graduates are struggling with the transition from university to employment with 43 percent reporting they felt prepared for working life.

Out of 2,612 employed graduates, 38 percent said they found the move from student to employee difficult. When asked about their early days of employment, 55 percent said they were full of uncertainty and 41 percent said they found it hard to begin work. Only 38 percent of graduates said that their working life turned out how they expected.

In the survey graduates were given a list of skills and asked to select those they had gained at university and what, in reflection, they would have found useful in preparing them for employment.

Results revealed that skills most likely covered at university were presenting, teamwork, CV and application writing. Skills they were least likely to have developed include, assertiveness, commercial awareness, negotiation, business etiquette and business and influential communication. These skills were also listed as the skills graduates would have found most useful in an interview.

Kyle Burrows, co-Founder at Work Ready Graduates said:

“This study shows that while graduates have honed their CV writing and teamwork skills at university, they are less likely to be prepared for the realities of working life. It’s important that graduates understand what is expected of them from day one and how they can be the best they can be. We need to build and complement the good work of careers services to develop professionals who have the knowledge and self-confidence to make their first steps on the career ladder a comfortable and happy experience.”

Also revealed in the survey, the majority of graduates (84 percent) reported that they knew how to behave in the workplace and 68 percent said they knew to ask for help. However, 41 percent said they felt uncomfortable meeting new people and a third said they lacked self-confidence when presenting themselves in a work environment. One in four said they didn’t fit in or know how to deal with the different personalities.

Claire Ashton, Work Ready Graduates’ board member and senior associate director for the attraction team at Teach First said:

“Leaving the comforts of university to enter the world of work for the first time can be a daunting prospect. It’s important that graduates feel well equipped to cope with the journey ahead, both professionally and personally. We support initiatives like Work Ready Graduates who are working hard to support graduates in their transition from student to employee.”