A-Level results: UK firms cheer growth in STEM subjects but warn of skills shortages

A professional institute has welcomed record numbers of students securing university places, but points out this is not the only route to a successful career.

The Institute of Directors (IoD), which is a Britain’s largest membership organisation for business leaders said it was “pleased” more students than ever have been accepted onto university courses with the overall pass rate rising marginally to 98.1 per cent.​

Seamus Nevin, Head of Employment and Skills Policy at the Institute of Directors, said: “Overall theses are positive results and students should be congratulated for their dedication and hard-work. University is a great way to learn important skills and gain valuable experience that will benefit you throughout your careers and your lives.

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While there have been increases in the take-up of traditional academic subjects such as English, maths, history and geography, there have been a drop in sciences. 

“Students recognise the need to build skills to compete in the modern economy as computing has become the fastest-growing subject. However, the slight fall in the number of chemistry and biology entries show how important it is for employers to show students and schools how much they value these courses,” said Nevin.

Richard Shea, Managing Director, EMEA Search at Futurestep, an online executive recruiting service for management professionals, added that yesterday’s A-Level emphasised the ongoing STEM talent shortage, which would hamper productivity and hold back the UK’s economic recovery.

“To combat the lack of IT applicants, universities and businesses cannot simply rely on the government to encourage and support the uptake of STEM subjects. Instead they need to create their own strategies to tackle the skills shortage at the root of them problem, nurturing and guiding students early on in their education when they are making choices about their future.

“Regardless of this being achieved, it will not immediately impact the skills shortage so many businesses are facing right now. As such, it is imperative organisations simultaneously concentrate on retaining the STEM talent already working for them, implementing solutions such as robust career development strategies to ensure this talent remains within the business.”





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