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Ethics more important than creativity: Employers

Employers say to graduates – ethics more important than creativity

Employers have replaced "creativity and innovation" with "professional ethics" on a wish list for the top 10 graduate attributes in a survey carried out by Victoria University's Career Development and Employment team.

"The survey was last carried out in 2000 and this year has seen professional ethics enter the top 10 list in place of creativity and innovation," says Liz Medford, Manager of Victoria's Career Development and Employment service.

"The emphasis on professional ethics could well be attributed to a global scene characterised by volatile markets, fraud and accounting scandals, Internet scams, intellectual property issues and terrorism."

The top 10 skills/attributes sought after in university graduates by employers are:

Strong Verbal and Interpersonal Communication Skills Self-Motivated/Self-Management/Self-Starter Team Player Sound Academic Achievement Analytical and Conceptual Skills Strong Written Communication Skills Flexible and Adaptable “Can Do” Attitude Problem Solving Skills Energy and Enthusiasm Professional Ethics

Employers were asked to rank in order of priority 15 skills/attributes which have been most commonly requested in previous years of the study. Employers also added that they were looking for well rounded individuals, social employees that get on well with others, a knowledge of central government processes and graduates with basic computer skills.

Ms Medford said the results showed that employers vary the emphasis on different skills/attributes according to the position to be filled and not all recruiting staff within the same organisation would necessarily agree upon the same ranking.

"Consequently, the best approach to the top 10 skills and attributes is to view them collectively rather than individually. Academic performance alone is not sufficient – it is the combination of skills that holds the key to ‘employability’.".

Although there were no significant differences in the rankings received from the private sector versus those received from the public sector, "academic strength" and "analytical skills" were much more highly prized by government agencies than by the IT industry, which placed more emphasis on "energy and enthusiasm".

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