All through high school and college I was spoon fed the usual belief that if you want to do well in life you need a good education, and ideally a degree. So when I graduated from University with that all-important 2:1 I felt a little conned when the job offers didn't immediately flow in.
I had worked hard, I'd had a part time role through out college, another throughout University, and I'd undertaken a summers worth of office work. I was by no means the stereotypical undergrad who had never worked a day in their life. I dedicated my final year of university to applying for those elusive graduate training programmes. When that failed I started applying for roles that I, in hindsight, was clearly too inexperienced for. In the end I undertook an unpaid internship for 3 months before having the experience that employers were looking for.
When I graduated I completed my degree along with 45% of my year group. Needless to say 45% of roles are not at a graduate level. Gone are the days when a degree gets you a good job, or even a job at all… The news constantly reports statistics on graduate employment, but it sometimes takes personal experience to really read into what these statistics show us.
Last week the BBC reported that 20% of graduates are unemployed. Immediately I question just how many of the employed 80% are in a graduate level role? What proportion of that 80% are simply still employed in the part time role they carried out during university at their local bar or shop for example?
Another statistic comes from Personnel Today. The article reports that graduate recruiters are demanding candidates with work experience, however what qualifies as experience varies between employers. Is this a part time role as a sales assistant or bartender alongside your 3 years of university, is it a couple weeks unpaid work experience within your chosen field of work, or is it a years industrial placement on the ever more popular sandwich degree course? Clearly this varies between applicants, industry, specialism, and location. But one thing is certain, if under graduates want to stand a chance in the graduate market place then they need to go the extra mile… and even further! Work experience within your chosen field is vital for success; proof of intelligence, in the form of a degree, is no longer enough to guarantee a successful start in working life.