Astounding but true – new figures show that almost a third of the UK’s small to medium sized businesses (SMEs*) don’t know the difference between basic qualifications attained through the country’s education system.

Graduates seeking work will be dismayed to learn that the latest Centre for Enterprise survey revealed that:

29% of company bosses thought A-levels were graduate level qualifications


18% thought GCSEs were equivalent to a degree.

No joke.

In fairness, Dude understands that the people running small businesses have a couple of other things to worry about right now (like keeping their business afloat during these tough times – which is fair enough).

But really people, surely this is pretty basic stuff, no?

And the news that the qualifications bright young things spend years (not to mention thousands of pounds) toiling for are not even understood by such a big slice of recruiters is certainly dispiriting.

Unfortunately, the Bad News Fairy – sorry, Centre for Enterprise – had some even more dismal statistics to dish out.

Of the 502 cash-strapped SMEs quizzed, 9 in 10 (88%) admitted they were not planning to hire graduates during the recession, 32% said nothing would make them hire a graduate in the next year, 48% had no vacancies at any level, 39% said they did not need graduate level skills in their business… (“STOP STOP, WE CAN’T TAKE IT ANY MORE!” you cry…)

Okay, I’m stopping with the bad news.

So was there any good news?

Actually yes – in this pile of reeking manure there was one twinkly gem…

Almost half (48%) said they would consider hiring a graduate if the government offered them a subsidy to do so.



Yes, it seems that when it comes to struggling small firms and their worried bosses, money talks.

Now, Dude is no economics whizz.

But might some sort of scheme along these lines be a better plan than the string of lame – sorry, disappointing – government initiatives that graduates that have so far been treated to by their out-of-touch government? (Yes, we’re talking to you, Graduate Talent Pool and Parent Motivators Guide. Tsk – Dude sometimes wonders what you people were on…)

Okay, yes, offering financial sweeteners for hiring graduates would be pricey in the short-term – but surely that would be preferable to dishing out the dole to a whole generation of super-bright, qualified graduates who are eager to get stuck into the world of work?

*SMEs are defined as having between 2 and 249 employees. They may be small, but together they pack a punch, accounting for 99% of all companies in the UK and three-fifths of private sector employment.

Read the full story in the Guardian here

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