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Creating Opportunities for Graduates - March 2012

Posted 29.03.12

In the current economic climate, it comes as no surprise that levels of unemployment are continuing to rise. Perhaps more surprisingly, is the number of graduates that are struggling to find suitable employment. The Office for National Statistics has said that the average number of applications for a graduate vacancy now stands at 48. The problem seems to be the development of a bottleneck in the market in which a backlog of candidates without experience are competing against those who graduated at least one year before.
Martin Birchall, Managing Director of High Fliers Research says "In a highly competitive graduate job market, new graduates who’ve not had any work experience at all during their time at university have little hope of landing a well-paid job with a leading employer, irrespective of the academic results they achieve or the university they’ve attended."

So how are graduates to gain experience when nobody is willing to give it to them?! This is the catch-22 situation that many graduates are facing at the moment. However it is not just graduates; in 2011, 20% of 18 year olds who left school with A-Levels were unemployed compared with 25% of 21 year olds who left university with a degree, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics. Graduate unemployment rates were almost on a par with those for people leaving school with just GCSEs, with 26% of 16 year olds with these qualifications out of work.

So what can young people do to gain this valued experience? A survey from within the recruitment industry found that most jobseekers strongly agree that local and central government should encourage organisations to employ more interns and apprentices. The findings show that “…internships and other career training schemes are increasingly important to make sure employees can get a foot in the door…”

Getting a “foot in the door” could also come in the form of multiple job opportunities created as a result of the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games. Volunteering and unpaid work is an option to be considered to gain work experience. It is becoming increasingly more important to use the time after university wisely and gain skills and experience in whatever you decide to do. Even travelling will give invaluable life experience. Spending time on your CV and tailoring it to the job you are applying for is also of utmost importance. For tips on how to improve your CV please take a look at our handy guide!