[Shelby Loasby | News Sub Editor]
Graduate jobs forum WikiJob has suggested in recent research that today’s graduates expect to apply for twenty jobs or more, before they secure a work placement.
WikiJob surveyed over 1,000 of its forum contributors, all of whom are graduate job-seekers. The survey found that 45% of them believe that they need to submit applications for at least twenty graduate schemes before they receive a job offer.
Competition has grown even more fierce over the past year. In 2014, LinkedIn conducted a similar survey and discovered that the average graduate had to apply to at least 12 jobs before being successful.
Head of Digital Marketing at WikiJob, James Rice, said; “These findings surprised us a little. It seems that despite the buoyancy of the graduate recruitment market at present, graduates themselves are feeling that the competition for placements is tougher than ever.”
Recent Research from High Fliers told a completely different story, and found that the 100 leading employers in the UK plan to increase their graduate vacancies by 8.1% in 2015. High Fliers also suggested that the average starting salary for graduates would reach a new record of £30,000 this year.
The Wikijob survey also found that only 20% of graduates believe they will have to apply to five or fewer graduate schemes before securing work, despite the rise in vacancies offered in the market.
The pessimism about job prospects is shared by many students and graduates, even at the University of Hertfordshire.
Katie Emms, final year Law student, said: “My ambition is to become a Criminal Defence Solicitor, so the career path is quite specific and I don’t think that there are any graduate schemes that are particularly useful – I just need to get more work experience.”
She went on to say: “Graduate schemes should be better advertised to students, but the timing is quite essential. Throughout final year I think most students are too stressed with their workload to have time to dedicate to job applications. It’s something that we don’t think about until our exams have passed. By then, it’s often too late to apply.”
Greg Pain, final year Events Management with French, also feels slightly pessimistic about job prospects.
“I’ve applied to five or six graduate jobs recently, mostly with sales and recruitment companies,” he said. “It’s not the field I want to go into, but it’s a good place to start my career.”
Pain explained that it has been hard trying to find a job for after uni: “There’s not a lot out there for graduates in the fields I’m looking into. I’m lucky enough to already have some experience in my field, but I can imagine it being almost impossible without that.”
He felt that graduates need more opportunities: “Most jobs want you to be experienced before they’ll hire you, but you need to be hired to get experience. It’s a vicious circle.”
Pain also added that it would beneficial if more lenient jobs/schemes were offered for those who don’t necessarily get the 1sts and 2:1s.
“Just because you’re not academic, doesn’t mean you’ll be a bad professional,” he said. “People need to give graduates more chances.”