Journalistic woes continue as newspapers continue to misconstrue graduate job picture

Here’s the latest in a long series of sensationalist and misleading newspaper articles about the state of the grad job market. Sorry Louisa but it’s true. One day journalists might get their head round the fact that the AGR survey of members only represents a small proportion of graduate recruiters. Typically the large ones that only account for around 5% of all graduate jobs. So that’s a 1.2pc fall from a sample of around 16,000 grad positions. It’s really barely news-worthy. In fact the most newsworthy thing is that the graduate market place continues to run along at a consistent pace in spite of a couple of years of extremely challenging economic conditions. A miracle really and one to be thankful for.

With the benefit of hindsight…

Many people quite rightly say that the key to effective blogging is regular posting. And I agree. But with over a month since my last post I actually think the sense of perspective I’ve got to be able to look back on the firestorm of the last few weeks is a useful one. A firestorm of Europe’s economy in chaos and what we’re told is the psychological tipping point of over 1 million 18-24 year olds out of work. Did it feel different to you? That last point? And if it did was that because the media were telling you it was a tipping point or did you arrive at that yourself?

Some people may say “Dave, you shied away from that one. At the very point of fervour you said nothing”. True but it’s such a familiar story what was there to add on what’s been said before? Yes, the economy is creaking. Yes, businesses are once again responding to the uncertainty of the economic picture by putting recruitment plans on the back burner. But did you know what else has been going on?

So what did the grads of 2010 end up doing?

I’ve already briefly reported the fate of Brunel’s 2010 graduating undergrads in a previous post (unemployment levels fell from 9.7% in 2009 to 8.6% in 2010) but this recent article has raised the subject again. Interesting to note that Brunel’s unemployment level is just below that of the UK average of around 9%. The percentage of Brunel grads in work was slightly higher as well (64.9% at Brunel versus 62% overall). Reassuring, I’m sure, for grads from Brunel.

The article continues a pattern of the media mixing up the health of the graduate scheme marketplace with the overall health of the wider graduate job picture. That quoted 2.6% rise in vacancies relates only to grad schemes and the larger grad employers. Not the whole picture.

The most interesting part for me was Continue reading

There is life after a 2:2 – part four

At this point it’s time to talk about the inbetweeners. No, not that “The Inbetweeners”! We’re being serious here. I’m talking about the jobs and experiences you can gather in between graduating and applying for your dream graduate job. As John Gillard again explains…

The individual needs to look at other ways to build their work experience. This may involve having to do a variety of jobs before arriving at ‘the dream job’.

So if you’ve got a 2:2 you may need to spend a bit longer boosting your commercial and real life work experience in the field that your ideal company operates in before applying to them. Might take an extra 12 months but what’s Continue reading

There is life after a 2:2 – part three

“Mitigating circumstances” – information that should be kept in mind when making a decision. Or in other words genuine reasons why you didn’t get a 2:1. Maybe it’s because you were holding down two part time jobs whilst studying. Maybe it’s because you had a period of illness at a crucial time in your course. Maybe it’s because you were caring for a family member during that time. Whatever it is, employers are interested.

As John Gillard, Programme Manager at Cap Gemini and recruiter of grads explains…

My advice to students caught in the 2:2 trap is Continue reading

There is life after a 2:2 – part two

Like I said, I used to recruit grads on to grad schemes where we accepted 2:2s, 2:1s and 1sts. More than once at the conclusion of an assessment centre a candidate with a 2:2 was given a job offer where a candidate with a 1st was rejected. Actually, more than once I rejected an applicant with a 1st at application form stage and took one with a 2:2 through to the next stage. Why on both occasions did this happen? In both cases it was down to the quality of what the two candidated delivered. The person with the 2:2 wrote a better, more relevant, more thorough application or interviewed better than the person with the 1st. The degree classification is just a part of the equation. You still have many more opportunities to shine.

There is life after a 2:2 – part one

Not every employer cares what degree classification you got. Let me repeat, not every employer cares what degree classification you got. Some do. Mostly the big guys with the grad schemes who either a) have proof that people with a 2:2 or 3rd don’t tend to pass the professional exams they need you to pass whilst working for them or b) are so inundated with applications that they need to use some initial arbitrary way to eliminate candidates. A degree classification gives a quick and admittedly reasonable way to do this.

But not even all of the big guys insist on it. My old alma mater Logica would accept applications from people with 2:2s on to their grad scheme and only recently the Continue reading

It’s the end of the world as we know it…

…and R.E.M. felt fine. But if you’ve just been the recipient of news that you’ve ended up with a 2:2 or a 3rd you may be in a bit of a dark place at the moment that feels like the end of the world. You may now feel your job prospects are fading quickly away to the far away point of a telescope turned the wrong way round.

Because everything you’ve heard from your mates, read in the paper and seen on the news says that the only way you’ll get a decent job is with a 2:1 or above. So life ends now…

…but it doesn’t. And over the course of the next 4 blog posts I’ll tell you why.

Who are you going to get to know?

Today Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said that he wants to stop people getting on in life purely because of “who they know”. I can see what he’s getting at. And it’s undeniable that some people have a greater advantage of knowing people in influential places in the working world than others do. I also agree that the auctioning off of internship places to the highest paying bidder is simply not fair on the majority.

But I can’t quite shake off the feeling that much of getting a foothold on the first ladders of your career does still rely somewhat not necessarily on who you know right now but Continue reading

Putting up a fight

I’ve recently been doing some research towards one of my latest “Finding jobs in challenging times” workshops (see here if you’re interested) and have made an uplifting discovery. Our very own graduate job board has continued to hold its own in the last 12 months in spite of the continuing challenging economic picture. A snapshot of vacancy numbers between August 2009 to January 2010 and August 2010 to January 2011 shows an increase of 4% from 997 to 1036 vacancies in that time.

Shorten the time period even more and there’s been a 13% increase comparing November 2009 to Jan 2010 and November 2010 to Jan 2011 (429 to 488 vacancies). Things are heading in the right direction.