‘Frankly, everyone has A*s’ warns CBI Director General

The glut of top grades at GCSE and A-level is forcing employers to focus on young people’s extra-curricular activities, according to a business leader. John Cridland – director general of the Confederation of British Industry – said his members must consider character-building elements of a candidate’s CV, rather than just qualifications.


He told the Times Educational Supplement that ‘frankly everybody has A*s’ and said employers want someone who ‘stands out from the crowd’.
‘What have you done in the local theatre club?
‘What have you done in the local sports club?
‘What have you done to put something back into the community?’ he said.
‘[These] are just as important to employers.’

He added that most bosses ‘do not recruit on subject or qualification’ but look for ‘enthusiasm, creativity and passion’.

The CBI has previously bemoaned the poor quality of candidates entering the workplace, criticising levels of numeracy and literacy. However Mr Cridland stopped short of suggesting ‘character’ should be taught as a separate subject, saying: ‘A good teacher develops these things in the classroom while teaching English.’ He added that Ofsted inspections should focus more on the all-round development of pupils.


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