Mixed messages for job seeking graduates
Job-seeking graduates are facing fresh obstacles this week, as reports reveal changing attitudes towards the value of a university education.
Information recently released by the Office of National Statistics shows that around a fifth of graduates are unemployed, with recent graduates faring the worst.
However, the statistics did show that young graduates are still more likely to find a job that those without a degree, with 11.6% of 21-24 year old graduates unemployed, compared to 14.6% of young people without a university education.
Although graduates are apparently more sought-after in the jobs market, a recent survey has revealed that many are dissatisfied with the experience their degree gave them, believing that their university education did not equip them with the skills looked for by potential employers.
The survey, by website totaljobs.com, showed that 38% of recent graduates have had to claim jobseeker’s allowance since completing their degree. Nearly half (44%) of the 448 graduates questioned said they did not believe that university had prepared them for work, while a quarter said that they would not recommend higher education to sixth form students.
Mike Fetters, graduate director at totaljobs.com, suggested that plans to triple tuition fees may help the current situation, as higher fees will “focus the minds of those wishing to go to university on which skills are most in demand in the jobs market”.
Concern at the unemployment rates amongst graduates prompted the news earlier this year that several universities are proposing to award marks to students on some degree courses who show corporate skills and initiative.
Durham University has announced that it will offer degrees sponsored by management firm KPMG, who will pay the fees of 75 students studying for a BSc in business.
However, the outlook for graduates is not entirely bleak. Statistics also show a rise in the number of graduate jobs available, with a survey of around 200 UK employers indicating that graduate opportunities have increased by 8.9%.