A new report, The Future of Talent, commissioned by Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ), revealed that only 42 per cent of employers agree that the current education system does a good job in preparing people for careers in their organisation.
The report surveyed nearly 800 Australian business leaders across various industries, including the accounting and financial services industry.
The result echoes recent sentiments from within the accounting industry calling for a change in approach to accounting degrees, as major universities – including Macquarie University and UNSW – find typical undergraduate courses are not preparing students for the realities of the accounting profession.
“This demonstrates a lack of confidence by organisations in the education sector’s ability to equip the future workforce with the skills they will need,” said Geraldine Magarey, leader of policy and thought leadership at CA ANZ.
“Only two in five employers believe the education system is doing a good job of preparing people for organisations like their own.”
Ms Magarey said schools needed to broaden their measures of success and drop the inclination to “teach to the test”.
“What’s needed is broader learning, including encouraging skills like critical thinking, communication, collaboration and ethical understandings,” Ms Magarey said.
“These are the skills businesses are indicating they want.”
Further, the report found that business leader ranked communication skills as the top attribute for the future, with problem solving ranked second, while adaptability and agility ranked third.
“Communication skills, collaboration and problem-solving are essential human skills, which are extremely difficult to replicate with technology,” added Ms Magarey.
“It’s clear that business leaders believe a human touch is crucial as we increasingly see technological advancements influence the workplace.
“These attributes which rely on well-developed emotional intelligence are needed to make sense of global megatrends and navigate through rapidly changing times.”
Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.