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Over the last twenty years there has been considerable research on the necessary or desirable attributes of graduates. There are many lists of attributes and a good degree of convergence. The context in which assertions are made about graduate attributes is the rapidly changing organization.

Most organizations are characterized by a presumption that change is here to stay and have been affected by significant reorganization of one sort or another: downsizing, de-layering and flexible contractual arrangements. This means that, for graduates, there is an unclear graduate promotion ladder, far more project-oriented team working, a consequent need to be able to interact with a wide range of personnel and a less clear chain of responsibility. On top of that graduates face a wide range of work requirements and greater workload, longer working hours and more responsibility than in the past. In short, graduates need to be flexible and adaptable.

Organizations are thus looking much further than degree subject and classification when recruiting. Employers and their representatives consistently say that, to succeed at work, most people in future must develop a range of personal and intellectual attributes beyond those traditionally made explicit in programmes of study in higher education institutions.

At root, employers want interactive and personal attributes. The core interactive attributes are communication, teamwork and interpersonal skills.

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