Graduate skills are highly valued by employers

Employers in every sector of our economy are increasingly prioritising the behavioural or “meta” skills of their employees.

Technical know-how, job specific content and business operating environments change quickly and meta skills offer organisations greater adaptability and responsiveness to change, whether that’s driven by a pandemic or lasting disruption like automation or the climate emergency.

Whilst it may be impossible for employers to predict exactly what specific job roles will be needed one, three or five years from now, a strong set of meta skills means employees are better placed to respond positively to that change and evolve with it, offering continued value to employers.

We’ve found that Scotland’s employers attach a great deal of value to a university degree because it equips graduates with subject-specific knowledge as well as a strong set of meta skills.

We’re calling this Knowledge+.

Key Points:

  • Universities produce graduates who have the breadth of skills and attributes to thrive in the diverse and ever-changing roles of our future economy.
  • 92% of employers say the soft skills learned alongside a degree matter just as much, or more, than the degree subject itself.
  • The top skills employers see as rising in prominence in the lead up to 2025 include problem-solving and skills in self-management.
  • When recruiting graduates, attitude and aptitudes for work ranks consistently higher than any other factor – far above factors such as degree classification.


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