Surprise surprise, grads struggle in job hunt

The graduates of today generally fall into one of four categories: a) Unemployed, b) Interning c) In higher education or d) Employed in a different sector to that they studied.

Most of those in the ‘unemployed’ category are frustrated, stressed and depressed.

‘Interns’ feel overworked and cheesed off that they are working their arses off for free.

Those in the ‘employed’ category, by contrast, who have jobs which they are either over-qualified for, or happen to have stumbled upon and taken, complain of boredom, stress or being overworked.

And those who have opted to study further, have often done so because of the uncertainty of jobs at this time.

The new research compiled by the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU), which shows the graduate job market to be the worst now, than it has been in 20 years, therefore doesn’t come as much of a shock.

The class of 2010 – this year’s graduates – are finding it tough to find jobs for which they studied, and only a lucky few are actually doing what they wanted to do.

Most of the rest are struggling.

Funnily enough, last year’s graduates, who entered the big wide world of work when the economic climate was at its worst, went through the same process.

According to the research, 8.9% of last year’s graduates – around 21,000 in total – were still jobless in January, six months after they graduated.

Double trouble

Except, now that the class of 2009 have built up their CVs through working for free, going back into further education, or finding jobs to see them through their first year employment, they’re beating the new 2010 graduates in the job hunt.

Negative cycle

It feels like the credit crunch has created this snowball effect where graduates from the year before will outdo the newest graduates.

This is because, the newest graduates will have to stifle competition not only from their peers but also from those who graduated the year before them, and employers are more likely to hire people with a year’s worth of hands-on ‘experience’ over those who are fresh from university.

It seems that this year’s graduates face a rocky first year in the job market before they actually find their feet.

The last time unemployment amongst graduates reached these kinds of levels was during 1992/93 when graduate unemployment reached 11.6% according to HECSU.

Subjects matter

The report, which was based on 2009 graduates, found that those with degrees in geography, law and psychology fared well with jobs, with all three subjects having unemployment rates lower than the average (7.4%, 6.2% and 8.3% respectively).

At the other end of the scale, the proportion of unemployed information technology graduates rose to 16.3%.

Engineering and building management graduates also saw an increase in unemployment, but those who had studied architecture, civil engineering and electrical and electronic engineering all saw their job prospects improve.

The public sector was one of the few employers that continued to recruit new graduates, but this is likely to change as the

Government’s spending cuts come in to force soon.

Ending on a good note though, the research did highlight that while many graduates struggled to find work, salaries did rise marginally, to an average of £19,695 in 2009, from £19,677.

So if you’re lucky enough to find work stick it out and suck up the money, because there are people out there who are still waiting for their break in the job sector, me included!


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