The finding underlines the massive public relations task facing Higher Still planners in the 18 months until the launch.
The survey also showed that two-thirds of employers with fewer than 50 staff have never heard of the National Record of Achievement. And very few who have heard of it have ever used it.
The telephone survey of 400 employers in January and February found a reasonable awareness of qualifications such as Standard grades and Highers, but very little knowledge of Higher Still.
Even those who had heard of the post-16 reforms knew little about them, and two-thirds had no desire to find out.
* At its conference this weekend the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association will warn ministers of possible action against Higher Still reforms.