Britain’s graduates are coming out in droves straight onto the dole and blaming their universities for not preparing them for the harsh realities of the current job market. A quater of graduates recently surveyed even stated that university education is simply not worth the trouble anymore.
More than one third of graduates (38%) have claimed jobseekers allowance since leaving university and of these, 37% have done so for longer than six months, according to new research from totaljobs.com.
The survey of recent graduates revealed that many have a distinct lack of confidence in their education, with almost half (44%) stating they did not believe their university education had equipped them for the world of work, with a similar percentage (43%) stating that they would not have chosen the same course, knowing what they know now. As a result of this graduate dissatisfaction and the position they find themselves in after finishing their studies, a quarter (24%) would not recommend Higher Education to those currently studying for their A-Levels.
The reluctance by a large minority of graduates to recommend university stems from the difficulty in finding work, low confidence and a realisation that they are not going to make the sort of wage they expected to when they started university. Indeed, student wage expectations dramatically drop on graduation, with 58% of graduates believing they will earn less than Ã‚Â£20,000 per annum. This view is contrasted with those still at university, of which 73% believe they can earn over Ã‚Â£20,000.
Mike Fetters, graduate director at totaljobs said:“The reality is that as a country we haven’t been very good at creating graduates that are specialised in areas that employers are demanding. The economic downturn exposed this brutally in the form of high graduate unemployment. The only benefit that we can see in the disappointing decision to, in effect, triple fees is that it may focus the minds of those wishing to go to university on which skills are most in demand in the jobs market which degree will best enable them to pay off debts most swiftly and create more focus on their chosen career direction.”
With only 56% of respondents utilising their careers service and only 40% of those finding it useful, the research uncovers a gap which needs to be filled by employers and universities working collaboratively to better the services offered to final-year students.
Mike Fetters continues: “It isn’t just students that need to adapt their behaviour; there are also roles for universities and business. Universities must look to offer more courses aligned to the jobs market and incentivise them if necessary. In turn, businesses should engage with the education sector to ensure that the skills they need are incorporated into university courses.”
Graduate jobseekers are willing to be more flexible than ever in both the sector they work in and their willingness to move to secure work. Nearly half (48%) would work in either public or private sector. Three quarters are willing to move for work, a figure that rose to 91% for those yet to graduate. 39% of these were willing to move abroad and 34% would move anywhere in the UK. There is also an understanding that more experience is needed, with half of those polled believing they will have to do unpaid work experience or internships to secure a job.