Mayday call : Students struggle to land jobs

  • Two-thirds of final-year undergrads have not secured a job
  • A fifth of students relying on someone they know to help get a job
  • Two-fifths believe university careers service is failing them

There will be no Labour Day festivities to cheer for young people set to enter the world of work this year. Over two-thirds (67.3%) of final-year students have yet to secure employment, according to Magnet.me, the UK’s biggest student and graduate careers site.

This findings confirm a trend reported earlier this year when only half of young people were buoyant about securing a role in 2018. Job optimism dropped from 65.6% in January 2017 to 53.1% in January 2018. Three quarters (74.5%) cited they were not inspired by UK economic signals, Brexit negotiations or political stability as reasons for the fall in optimism.

Today’s findings reveal that students are applying aggressively, making on average 92 applications each, but only one in twenty (5.8%) were yielding an interview. Of those who attended an interview most (48.3%) felt it was an uncomfortable meeting in terms of approach and friendliness by recruiters. Furthermore, half (52.7%) felt there was a huge void between what the job description proposed, and the interview questions they faced.

Worryingly, one in five (22.4%) are relying on someone they know to help them get a job in 2018. Faith in the university careers service is dwindling, over two-fifths (40.8%) felt it was an out-of-date approach and lacked resources to support job search.

Vincent Karremans, Founder of Magnet.me commented: “It look like vast swathes of young people are unlikely to secure a job this year owing to floundering application processes and interview meetings.

“Young people are being frustrated and strangled by the world of work even before they enter it. They are applying to bland generic job descriptions and when they attend interviews are left feeling confused. Little wonder why then one in five are relying on friends and family to get them a job.”

“Employers need to do improve their job descriptions and really spell out what they are looking for, avoiding unnecessary corporate jargon. Simultaneously, interviews and interview processes need to be revamped, they are clearly not working. A greater involvement of hiring managers early in the process will help to ensure better outcomes”.

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