77% of Employers Not Happy with the Quality of Pakistani Graduates: Survey

The industry-academia gap is the reason so many new graduates are unable to find jobs while at the same time, employers bemoan the lack of qualified graduates.

While universities bicker over meaningless rankings, the fact is none of them are adequately preparing their graduates for the workforce. However, identification of the problem is the first step and you need data for that. A recent survey conducted by Career Advisory and Assessment Services aims to portray the employers’ side of the matter.

Here are the major highlights and breakdowns from the survey.

  • 76% of employers aren’t satisfied with the quality of graduates
  • 95% of the recruiters believe that students study the subjects that do not match their personality type because they do not receive quality career advice

Factors Considered When Hiring Fresh Grads

According to the survey, the major factors that influence hiring for new graduates (on a scale of 0-100) are:

  • Relevant qualification: 86%
  • Personal Presentation: 79%
  • Soft Skills: 74%
  • Volunteer Work: 50%
  • Grades: 29%
  • Extra Curricular Activities: 24%

The main takeaways are that while the degree matters, the grades don’t comparatively. Soft skills and personal grooming, two factors often completely neglected by students specially in technical fields, are the 2nd and 3rd most important things.

Skills Employers Think Fresh Graduates Lack

These are the skills missing from the toolsets of new graduates according to employers.

  • Verbal Communication (83.63%)
  • Positive Attitude (71.93%)
  • Team Working (64.91%)
  • Critical Thinking (59.06%)
  • Self Confidence (59.06%)
  • Written Communication (57.31%)
  • Drive & Resilience (57.31%)
  • Stress Tolerance (47.37%)
  • Adaptability (46.20%)
  • Time Management (45.61%)
  • Self-Awareness (45.03%) and Planning & Organizing (45.03%)
  • Integrity (43.86%)

The ability to communicate effectively, in both written and oral form, is the most important when it comes to making yourself an attractive resource to employers. Lots of things like a positive attitude and stress tolerance can’t really be judged from a short interview. That’s why young graduates should look to add things to their CV that illustrate these skills.

For example, are you a coder? Show work on open source software. Are you a business grad? Mention that time when you organized a large event. The main thing is that you shouldn’t expect employers to hand out jobs just because you completed a degree. It takes a lot more to succeed at any good job and often your CV and interview can tell employers all they need to make a decision.

1Sector Wise % of Companies Participated in Survey

Survey Methodology

The online survey was conducted by Career Advisory & Assessment Services via Google Forms. Shared with the CHROs/Director HR/Head HR/Manager HR of over 500 companies on Monday 6th June 2016, it has so far been filled out by 171 respondents from 160+ companies. Answers will be accepted till 30th September 2016.

You can check out the complete report here.

Talal is a Director and the Chief Content Officer at ProPakistani. Reach out at [email protected]


    • I know about software industry only – A masters level employee don’t earn for the company for atleast first 6 months and even one year in some cases, but when he learn something he switch company for a better monthly salary :) so that’s the reason companies don’t offer good money to the fresh

      • 100% True. Most of the fresh IT graduates in Pakistan produce bad code which must be fixed by the seniors, costing the company time and money. Yet they think they are doing a favor by working in the company. They see that they are getting “just 18K” but don’t see the fact that their lousy code is being fixed by a senior who might be getting a six figure salary from the company and is spending 2-3 hours daily on fixing their bugs and on improving their skills.

        • A good team lead should be able to spot good code or the ability to produce good code in a week or two, then needs to have the liberty to give an immediate raise to retain a rare find. Failing to do so, the person will either leave or stop spending time and effort to continue writing good code.

  • There is no proper career counseling. HEC does not advise universities (nor they care themselves) what degree should me offered with how much students as per market consumption. Taking telecom as example, there are lot of graduates but opportunities are less. Uniz dont focus on skill building but mostly on theoretical knowledge.

    • Telecom is the best example, when GSM companies started in Pakistan, people from unrelated education gained the knowledge and the jobs. Years later universities started the degrees because it was lucrative but took another 4 years, then fresh grads were applying against industry veterans of 4-6 years of experience and did not stand a chance.

  • I think it was said by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, “There is always a vacancy at the top.”. But even if he did not say it, be the best in your field and you will get the price tag you want at the company you want.

    Problem is that the career selection is mostly made on the basis of money even if the person does not like that field or subject at all, then they end up mediocre or worse mostly unable to land a job.

    I have hired fresh graduates at 50k / month years ago when I saw in them things I rarely see in graduates, the mediocre will have a difficult start at 25k / month today and private companies would not think twice before getting rid of people not performing.

    PLEASE select the career on the basis of your passion and interests. If the university you end up at does not fulfill the knowledge (you need the thirst for more), get on to MIT Courseware, iTunes University, Coursera, etc. and gain the knowledge, when you are at the interview you will get the offer before the interview is even over.

    In my opinion the degree on your CV / resume can only get you an interview call, but you need it because it does. Many organizations do not consider candidates without a degree, while most don’t even ask to see it. IRONY!

  • Is it possible for HEC to give universities to produce only those graduates who are in need and stop those degress which are already in excess e.g Telecom engr?…. There are thousands of them and nobody needs them. If someone who graduated 4 years ago still can’t find a job then why are the universities producing thousands more each year.

    I think china is following this model where they stop a degree program if it is no longer required in the market.

  • I have highlight this issue in 2015 in my linkedin article.

    1. There’s still a need for a skill-set approach in IT Education In Pakistan.
    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140605133646-109832954-there-s-still-a-need-for-a-skill-set-approach-in-it-education-in-pakistan

    2. Bad Coding can affect Economic & Education.
    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/bad-coding-can-affect-economic-education-taha-adil?trk=prof-post

    Message to students: “You might get 93% in your BCS, CS or MCS, if your ignoring the skill & Knowledge of Information technology, doors will remain closed for you in the Development Arena, you might get a job on PR or personal contact, but if you are targeting your career as “Self-Oriented Career Growth” you must learn some “Skill-Set”, later on degree will help you to boost your career in organizations and companies.”

  • Now a days with a University (so called) in every nook and corner, this is expected! Just by taking money and providing degrees doesn’t make you a worthwhile employee.

  • As far as I know Pakistani Employers not only pays a little amount to their employees but also don’t offer incentives. So in some bucks how can the expect from their employees to generate extra ordinary results.

  • You need a reference to get to the interview . Elsewise it is extremely tough out there . I just graduated a month ago and I already around 20K per week through freelancing because I have sound technical knowledge but I have applied to more than 500 companies in Pakistan and none has yet replied . This is sad and I pray to God ka achee job lag jae

    • Leaving government organizations aside, I can’t believe one with “sound technical knowledge” would not get a job interview after applying to “more than 500 companies”, unless there is some issue with one’s resume / CV. You might have a very poor CV or have incorrect e-mail address / contact numbers on it (no joking. I have seen this so many times). Another very common reason is applying without considering the requirements of the job. For example, if you are B.Com and you are applying for the position of Database Administrator then it will most likely get you nowhere even after 1000 attempts (again no joking. I have also seen this so many times).

    • You will get the first interview or phone screening at any private organization. But your definition of “sound technical knowledge” might be different than what a specific company is looking for.

      With that kind of freelancing, you will continue some side work after getting a job, which will effect your performance and in private companies does not go unnoticed. So if you are happy with freelancing, stick to it and dedicate a few hours each day for self learning and skill enhancements, no need for a job.

  • I can’t say about the other fields, but in IT there is always a shortage of talented people and companies search desperately for the right persons. Now the question is, are you the right person? If you have just grades and no skills or you have some unrealistic expectations from your first job then finding the job might be tough for you. Get skilled before you finish your education and always be realistic. Don’t expect to land a 60K job when you can’t write two lines of code without copying / pasting from the internet.

  • 18 years of education + loads of extra courses = starting pay 8K -14k per month <—-(main problem)
    On the other hand Freelancers starting pay is @ 300$ per month.
    there are tons of other issues as well which some of you are well aware of.

  • Data could’ve been represented in a better way atleast. Freshers who believe they’ll get 30 – 40k simply because they graduated isn’t helping either. Attitude change is required in policies of all institutes and their administration.

  • Relax guys, hardly a survey methodology to be taken seriously. Given the number of surveys this is based upon, no point in delving down to the details. Take away the general summary which could be considered as true generally with a third world country such as ours; “employers not happy with fresh graduates” is hardly a groundbreaking revelation; there’s a reason work experience requirement is a parallel, if not stronger, currency to qualifications.

  • The problem is that Pakistani Industries not pay very well even we done our work perfectly.

    2nd problem is that Companies not invest on employee training’s.
    If industries do this then I think achieve very good result in very short time.


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