BethMellor’s Weblog

Postgraduate journalism, news and views.

Slump in graduate jobs ‘is threat to hopes of recovery’: Published in The Scotsman

with one comment

graduation As a 2008 graduate now undertaking a journalism course, graduate unemployment is an issue that is incredibly worrying to me and to many of my friends.  After spending huge amounts of time and money getting a good degree, it seems that  some graduates of 2008 and 2009 will be questioning whether their investment was worth it.

Many large graduate employers are reducing the number of places on their graduate schemes and competition for jobs less affected by the economic downturn – such as teaching and law – has increased dramatically. What is more, graduates will now have to compete for jobs with highly-skilled and experienced workers who have been laid-off in other sectors.

I investigated the problem of graduate unemployment in more detail for a recent article for The Scotsman.

Whilst it seems that many people realise that graduate unemployment is a latent issue – which will potentially explode when this years’ graduates leave university in the summer – no-one really knows how to tackle it.

The national internship scheme proposed by the Government last week may go some way towards temporarily alleviating  graduate unemployment, but it is only a stop-gap solution – the proposed internships that will be offered to graduates are only for three months.

It is understandable that companies want to save on the cost of expensive graduate training schemes. On the other hand, talent and innovation are crucial for businesses in order to get through the current economic climate.

As for students, the advice of Professor Nicholas Terry, vice-principal of Abertay University, who I spoke to for my article, gives some hope.

He said: “Students about to graduate are having to adjust their expectations, but this shouldn’t come at the expense of their career ambitions. Most students are mature enough to realise they’ll simply have to adjust to labour market conditions when they graduate. My advice to students who are graduating in 2009 is, firstly, think long-term. Their careers are going to last a lot longer than the financial downturn, so keep some perspective on the matter.”

Written by bethmellor

January 18, 2009 at 4:51 pm

One Response

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  1. Congrats on the front page Beth! Really interesting article. Here are my not very thoughtful thoughts:

    Experience is always important and even more so in a competitive job market. Employers, more risk averse in a recession, are inevitably going to be inclined to recruit from the ever-increasing pool of the recently unemployed than than they are new graduates.

    Students need to think more practically and strategically about their employability before they emerge from university, all clean and shiny, and are confronted with the fact that they actually have very little. In my experience students, especially arts and humanities students, tend to have a lot more spare time than they think they do and can put it to productive purpose, extending their CVs beyond academic achievements and the SU Ultimate Frisbee team.*

    Which is why I also think the government internship scheme is a great idea to the extent that it will allow those graduates who don’t come from London (or another major city) to compete with those that do and are able to live at home. It’s true three months ain’t much, but it’s enough time to get your feet under the table, to become a familiar face around the office and an indispensable member of a team.

    Alternatively they could just lie on their cvs. Just a suggestion.

    *There’s also something to be said for prospective students considering the market value of their degree choice and likely job prospects they will emerge from university with, before they embark on 3/4 years of a BA in Cultural Studies, but that’s a whole nuvver issue.


    January 19, 2009 at 3:41 pm

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