Higher education is the main source of executive manpower and professional technology for businesses, yet it is only in the last few months of the education system that firms make contact with the education élite. When a graduate is recruited, a firm obtains two things — the individual and the training. Many firms concentrate on the individual when selecting potential executives, although if a company is seeking technologists, a student's course is more important. Businesses dedicate much effort to obtaining the best of the output of the education system and spend generously on management training, but pay little attention to the mechanism that brings together the two raw materials — sixth formers and courses in higher education. In the long‐run, a business is only as good as the people it employs and the failure to manage the process that ensures a flow of the right people into business is reflected in the failure of British businesses to be competitive.
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