One in seven employers has been unable to fill jobs in recent years because of a lack of "employability" skills among newly-qualified young people, according to a new report.
A study by totaljobs.com and the IPPR think tank revealed a skills "mis-match" at entry level.
Almost half of employers have tried to recruit newly qualified youngsters in the past year, but many complained of a lack of basic employability skills such as literacy and numeracy and even English and maths.
James Frearson of totaljobs.com, said: "This report shows a serious mis-match between the skills held by entry-level candidates and those demanded by employers. As employers expect to increase their recruitment of entry-level candidates in the next five years, this issue would need to be addressed by the government and employers as priority.
"There are a number of things employers can do to help entry-level candidates prepare for the world of work, such as providing more opportunities for candidates to learn about what is expected of them in the workplace.
"Paid work experience placements to those still in education, and more investment in on-the-job training and apprenticeships are a great place to start. Recruiters can also help by simplifying their application processes, with a clear selection criteria and constructive feedback for unsuccessful candidates."
A separate report, by jobs site Adzuna, said that the number of job vacancies has overtaken the number of jobseekers for the first time since the recession.
Over 930,000 vacancies were advertised on the site last month, almost 50,000 more than a year ago.
Advertised pay was 4.3% higher than a year ago, and over 15% better for graduate jobs.
Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, said: "For the first time in six years, the number of jobs on offer has eclipsed the number of people looking for work. Job applicants are in a much stronger position than they were a year ago as employers offer higher salaries in the hope of attracting the very best talent.
"Over half a million fewer people are unemployed than a year ago. It might feel like a rare planetary alignment to those who started out their careers in the midst of a global recession, but annual salary growth maintaining a lead on inflation for three months on the trot is an excellent sign.
"But even though the recovery is rocketing forward, it's important to keep our feet firmly planted on the ground. The increase in job vacancies is aided in part by a natural swell as the festive season approaches. Nevertheless, the upturn in temporary seasonal jobs is to be welcomed with open arms as it paves the way for real wages to reach the people that need it most in time for Christmas."
Employment Minister Esther McVey said: "Our young people are some of the best and most talented in the world - they are driven, entrepreneurial and innovative. But for those jobseekers struggling to show they've got the skills employers need, Jobcentre Plus offers a wide range of flexible support to help them get their foot on the career ladder.
"With more than 670,000 vacancies in the economy at any one time, it's part of our long-term economic plan to support business to create jobs, and make sure that they can get the skilled employees they need."