Half of employers do not think that graduates generally have the workplace skills they need when they are first hired, according to a report.
It suggests that many university leavers are lacking essential qualities, such as teamwork and problem-solving when they enter the job market.
The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), which published the study, said learning these skills needs to start early, before young people go to university or into employment.
Overall, 49% of the 174 AGR members surveyed said that 'graduates generally do not have the skills expected of them at the point of hiring', while on average, one in four graduates (25%) in an intake do not possess them.
One employer told researchers: 'They have a skills base, which we will build on, but [by] no means will they have all the soft skills we expect.'