Saturday, 31 July 2010


Chris Blackhurst, city editor with the London Evening Standard, argued in the 1st July issue of the newspaper, that the current state of play of the graduate job market is so harsh to the extent that “It’s no use society encouraging more pupils to go to university (and making them borrow heavily) if there aren’t the jobs for them when they qualify”.
Many students, in fact, in order to achieve their graduation, need to apply for loans and other kind of debts, so that, when they graduate, they leave with the burden to pay back the money they have got. Their need for a job become, then, particularly vital.
The job market, on the other hand, is everything but buoyant, so that there are really not many opportunities available to the fresh graduate people. The career ladder is not really amongst their first thoughts, let alone are young graduates able to plan on subscribing a mortgage to buy a flat.
According to a study, carried out by High Flyers Research, 270 graduates apply for each job in the consumer goods industry, more than 100 students apply for every vacancy, 75 for each available job in the financial services, and an average of 45 students are competing for each graduate position.
Organisations are overwhelmed, to the extent that many private organisations have decided to freeze their recruitment activities.
In the private sector the picture is not really better. Usually, each year, UK graduates fill 39,000 jobs in the public sector, but this year (and very likely not only for this year) the 25% real cut budget imposed by the chancellor George Osborne will definitely have a remarkable impact.
According to Charlie Ball, Deputy Research Director of the Higher Education Careers Service Unit (HECSU), arguably “the next four years could be the toughest for new graduates ever”.
As pointed out by Chris Blackhurst, all of that also impacts graduates parents, who will need to continue to support their daughters and sons and put them up.
The only opportunities currently available in the job market relate to the retail sector, barely a sector able to give graduates the deserved reward for their studies, if anything to all of them.
If in the past middle-class parents aim was securing their kids a place at university, now their priority and focus is on them to find a good job, offering them training and career opportunities.
Many graduates are, in fact, working unpaid internships, unpaid jobs with charities, or working in coffee bars and the like.
The conclusion reached by Blackhurst, then, is rather pragmatic and understandable.

London expected to face candidates shortage
The finding of another research, carried out by Ambition, on the other hand of it, reveals that London will face a shortage of skilled candidates, in the second half of the current year.
In particular, the ratio vacancies/candidate will rise from the 3/10 of the first quarter of 2009, to 10,3/10 during the third quarter and even to 12/10 during the fourth quarter of 2010.
Best candidates have been snapped up, leaving the talent pool nearly empty and demand exceeding offer.
This is in evident contrast with the 75/1 ratio concerning the financial services and banking graduate jobs described above.
Still according to the Ambition research, London shouldn’t suffer any job number reduction and even though a slowdown in growth should occur, new job seekers shouldn’t have particular difficulties to find a job.
Professional services experienced candidates are now holding their current jobs waiting for their announced salary review. Experienced product controllers are expected to get a 23% increase of their daily earning, whilst skilled financial services specialists are expected to get generous offers to be retained.
Financial services, legal and professional services should be the first markets to experience the candidates shortage predicted by Ambition.
The government, from its side, expects that the private sector will be offering growing employment opportunities for the next five years, in London this trend should already be underway.
Jobseekers in action
According to another research, carried out by MyWorkSearch, more than 50% of jobseekers have been unemployed for more than 6 months, whilst 30% of them have been unemployed for more than 12 months.
Additionally, more than 33% of jobseekers have made at least 100 applications, and of them 32% have received just an interview offer or even none.
The problem is not just affecting youngsters, in that more than 50% of jobseekers are over 45 and 47% are also educated at graduate or post-graduate level, which means that, as supported by Chris Blackhurst, qualifications are not helping jobseekers in their search.
79% of jobseekers, because of the difficult job market situation, have changed, or are considering to change, their industry sector and a staggering 84% is willing to apply for junior positions. Many have also accepted part-time or temporary positions in order to get a job.
Jobseekers are more likely to apply for a job on Mondays, nonetheless over 40% of them spend their Saturdays sending out applications and of them over 30% extend their efforts till Sunday.
The preferred time to send applications out is between 10.00am and 11.00am, 25% search in the evening and 15% start in the early morning before 8.00am.

MBA graduate prospect
The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) claims that, although the business schools graduates job market is still difficult, there are evident signs of improvement.
The GMAC carried out a survey amongst employers, at European level - Corporate Recruiters Survey -, according which organisations, in contrast with what happened in the previous year, are now planning to hire new MBA graduates. Whilst in 2009 only 36% of respondents admitted to have plan to hire MBA graduate, the figure has rose to 44% this year.
The industries which will recruit the highest number of MBA graduates are consulting and healthcare. Worldwide it is expected that marketing and sales positions will offer plenty of opportunities, followed by finance and investment banking.
Unless you don’t need to sell your house to do so (and maybe even needing to do so), getting an MBA degree is definitely still worth it, according to the GMAC survey, in fact, the starting salary that organisations are going to pay to new MBA recruits this year has been identified at €65,419, about 80% higher than the €36,405 average salary organisations are likely to offer to new recruits holding “just” a Bachelor’s degree.

Current trends

It also seems that employers are switching their emphasis from cost containment to business growth. Those who are still focusing on cost-cutting fell from 66% of last year to 57% this year.
The survey shows that improving performance still is business’ first priority.
The number of MBA students who received an employment offer before completing their studies dropped from 50% of 2009 to 40% this year. Notwithstanding, people graduating in 2010 were more optimistic about the future of the economy than people graduated in 2009.