Hundreds of thousands of students across the country are graduating from university this summer and are finding out that it’s not going to be easy to walk into a dream job. Graduate jobs have been cut by one quarter this year according to the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR)
Its bi-annual survey found:
- One in four graduate vacancies have disappeared
- Competition has intensified with an average of 48 applications for every job
- Quality of job applications is up as shaken grads sharpen up their act
- Average graduate salary remains frozen at £25,000
- Recruiters predict no change for 2010
How can Employers help?
AGR say that Employers must ensure that they remain visible to graduates during the recession – even if they are not hiring.
Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the AGR, warned that as employers cut back on the number of graduate jobs they offer, it is crucial that they do not stop communicating with university students as this could damage their ability to recruit graduates in the long-term.
He told Personnel Today: “When employers stop recruiting they tend to become invisible and, if that happens, when the economy takes off again their challenge to attract the best talent will be all the greater. Employers need to keep their profile and brand in front of students.”
Gilleard insisted employers must continue to attend careers fairs but be honest with graduates about their situation.
“Employers should still attend career fairs and talk to students to keep their profiles up, but they must be honest and not make false promises,” he said. “It’s not just about opportunities available in the next few months but in the next few years. Employers should be saying why not come to us in two or three year’s time.
Meanwhile the government is to pay for graduates struggling to get a job to go on trips abroad, The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has confirmed. It said the scheme will be launched with expedition company Raleigh International next week. It will pay for 500 young people under the age of 24 to travel to places such as Costa Rica and India to take part in projects such as building schools.
Higher Education Minister David Lammy said volunteering would help new graduates develop “the communication and leadership skills that are so highly valued in the workplace”.
Hope for the future
Chief executive of Graduate Prospects and Hecsu Mike Hill says times are hard – but graduates have come through difficult times before- such as the early 1980s, ’90s and in 2002/3.
“There are more jobs for graduates now than there were 10 years ago. The overall trend is up but there have always been ups and downs, “he said.
“A great many of those who graduated in the difficult times of 2002/3 have prospered. The proportion of graduates who go to the blue chip companies is only about 10%. The rest go out into other areas of the economy.”