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Today’s graduates need to develop an entrepreneurial skillset in order to excel in their career, a new study has revealed.

Over a third (37 per cent) of employers feel graduates are missing key entrepreneurial skills needed to succeed in business, despite the majority (79 per cent) of graduates being confident they possess them. Individuals with an entrepreneurial mindset are often masters in soft skills such as problem solving, teamwork and communication.

The study of employers and graduates by sales and soft skills training specialist, Pareto Law, has discovered a marked difference between what graduates and recruiters mean by having an entrepreneurial attitude.

According to the study, graduates believe they are taking proactive steps to develop their entrepreneurial skills (54 per cent), but over half of employers (51 per cent) say there’s still more work to be done to help graduates realise their potential.

Aside from a candidate’s academic and technical qualifications, two fifths (40 per cent) of employers say an entrepreneurial skillset is highly valued and the majority (78 per cent) say it’s a key determiner for success.

When examining specific characteristics, over a quarter (28 per cent) of employers say graduates’ drive and commitment to deliver results is their strongest trait, but looking at which skills need further development, commercial awareness was top (44 per cent) of the list.

The top five traits employers think graduates need to develop:

  • Commercial awareness (44%)
  • Ability to sell and close a deal (36%)
  • Ability to network (21%)
  • Communication, negotiation and persuasiveness skills (16%)
  • Innovation and creative thinking (12%)

Jonathan Fitchew, CEO and Founder of Pareto Law said: “Soft skills associated with entrepreneurialism are key for graduates to secure a well-matched grad-level job and ultimately succeed in their career.

“Traits like communication, negotiation and commercial awareness are highly important if graduates want to excel. However, the majority say they’re rarely asked in interview situations about their entrepreneurial skills.

“Today’s graduates are the first real digital natives. They live in an ‘always-on’ culture which has made them more adaptive and reactive than ever before. If employers can harness the raw entrepreneurial traits inherent in today’s graduates and train them to hone these skills effectively, they will transform them into future powerhouses of business”.