It is not uncommon to hear of a gap between the skills that university graduates possess and those which employers demand – but a new tool can paint a much clearer picture.

The data tool – developed by think tank IPPR and analytics company Burning Glass Technologies as part of JPMorgan Chase’s New Skills at Work programme – has highlighted particular areas where there is a mismatch between available skills and requirements.

It matches online data from 2014 about the vacancies that employers were offering with information about what qualifications jobseekers actually had. The study revealed that across the UK there were some 1.8 million entry-level vacancies in mid-skilled occupations.

There were eight sectors which advertised for more than 100,000 vacancies, which included sales and marketing, personal care, hospitality, public services, childcare, business, information technology and finance admin.

Jobseeker competition

Sectors such as animal care, agriculture and creative occupations saw too many qualified jobseekers compete for every job.

The data highlights a need for the UK skills system to become more responsive to the needs of the British economy and those of the local employers. Training providers and education needs to become more demand focused by offering courses that closely match the opportunities in local labour markets.

If this is achieved, it gives graduates the opportunity to better tailor their skills and qualifications to the demands of employers, increasing the chance of sustainable employment.

Local areas

There are regions where employers struggle to find suitable candidates that are suitably qualified. For example, in London employers are finding it difficult to find appropriately qualified entry-level IT technicians, whilst in Birmingham employers are struggling to find the same level of metal works and engineering technicians.

Employers are well within their rights to seek appropriately skilled individuals yet they also need to ensure that positions are attractive to graduates seeking employment.

For graduates, widening their skill sets with the use of additional tools and training is one option, while they should also not be discouraged from looking for opportunities requiring different skills sets that could act as a stepping stone towards their long-term career goals.

This allows them to offer a broader range of talents to a business, which enhances their employability in the process.

If you’re a graduate looking to kick-start your career have a chat with Discovery Graduates and see how they can help get you started