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A-Level results: HR Comment

Neil Owen, Director, Robert Half Technology UK

“For the first time in years, A-level results have shown a strong uptake in STEM subjects, with more women also getting involved in these disciplines.

“While STEM subjects have traditionally had a cultural stigma in the UK, results today show that we are moving in the right direction.

“Yet, even with positive signs of things moving in the right direction, there is still a huge number of STEM-related jobs that remain unfilled, with employees lacking the right skill-set that make them employable. Interestingly, 92% of HR directors in the UK are finding it challenging to find skilled professionals. And this needs to change.

“The growth of digital subjects is not a greenlight to complacency. The war for talent is set to intensify as companies search for candidates that can combine technical aptitude with softer skills, as we shift to a digital future. 

“In addition, with the appetite for crypto-currencies, the internet of things and artificial intelligence continuing to rise, so is the demand for people with the right skills to implement it. Skills including, analytics and programming are in huge demand, placing an even further strain on the job market.

“Some of the key benefits of employing graduates are their ability to bring a fresh perspective, new methods of communications and a technically-savvy nature to the working world. Those graduates who are looking to explore a top-tier computer science degree, excellence in mathematics and programming skills will set themselves up for a strong start to their careers. However, technical skills are not the only desired skills. The growth in soft-skills such as effective communications, stakeholder management and commercial awareness should be nurtured within the early years of employment to support long-term career success.

 “While this year’s results are positive, we mustn’t become complacent. We need to work together to continue to make these subject areas more attractive, exciting and popular. By facing the widening skills gap head on, we can arm the future workforce with the right tools to strive, whilst at the same time build our economy from the bottom up”.