Find out what’s going on in the marketplace for graduates jobs and the latest news about employment prospects. We also use this page to share our ideas about what graduates can be doing now to improve their prospects of landing the job they’re looking for, either now or whilst they are still at university.

The gender gap is alive and kicking

You’re at university, doing well, working towards your finals, feeling somewhat nervous, but generally confident in your ability. You attend a careers fair, not 100% sure where your career path might lie, still feeling somewhat nervous yet now less confident in your ability. What happened? This is where the sexes diverge.

confidence and aspiration make the difference

Where male students might apply for a job if they feel they can do about 30% of it, females tend to want to make sure they can tick every box of the job requirements, and this plays out in the workplace. Career Study, commissioned by Oxford University, looked at 7 universities and found that 90% of male leavers ended up in graduate level jobs 6 months after graduation, whereas the corresponding figure for women was 81%. There were differences in pay too – starting salaries for males were £25,000 and for females, £21,000.
What’s behind these outcomes? Most of it comes down to a lack of confidence, a lack of aspiration and a struggle to move beyond the stereotypes.

What you can do about it? (This is relevant to males and females.) When you’re thinking about the right career for you, take a step back from peer pressure, family expectations, media representations. What are YOUR strengths, where are YOUR interests? Believe in yourself and believe that you really CAN go for that role.

It’s not all about academic performance

Employers are looking for rounded employees who can offer their business more than academic or technical knowledge – they’re also putting a premium on what have been traditionally thought of as ‘soft skills’, including communication, time management, respect for others and enthusiasm in your approach to work.

soft skills = essential skills

And there’s economic data to support the financial value of these skills to the UK economy from the Development Economics research group. Their analysis comes out at £88bn per year in terms of increased productivity, a reduction in operating costs and competitive advantage.

What do graduates need to think about? Getting experience that brings out those qualities. Have you had a Saturday job, a summer job, been involved in organising social events at school or uni? They are all great ways to show you have those essential skills.

Generation Z think it will be tougher to find a good career…..

students feel that much of the information just isn’t practical enough

…..compared to their parents, that is.  Over 75% of students believe they’ll find it more difficult than their parents did to achieve a good career, according to research carried out by the CII (Chartered Insurance Institute). More than 1500 sixth formers and university students were questioned and although they were confident in finding a job, there were less so about finding a graduate level job. Careers departments are seen as providing lots of information about various careers, but students feel that much of the information just isn’t practical enough. Unsurprisingly, work experience and internships stand out as the best ways of helping students identify the career they want to pursue.

So what to do? Take every chance you can to experience the working environment, when you’re at school, university and when you graduate, if you haven’t found the job you’re looking for. It will show initiative, look good on your cv, give you something relevant to talk about at interviews and will help you work out if that’s the type of job you want to pursue.

no matter what job you have

No matter what job you have in life, your success will be determined 5% by your academic credentials, 15% by your professional experiences, and 80% by your communication skills.

What degree? What subject?

Most students who study vocational subjects such as medicine, engineering and law have a clearly laid out career path ahead of them. But should you be concerned that your choice of degree won’t get you in front of potential employers? Not according to data analysed by HECSU (Higher Education Careers Service Unit).

about 70% did not require a degree from a specific discipline

They looked at over 140,000 graduate jobs advertised during 2014 and found that about 70% did not require a degree from a specific discipline.
Our advice? Concentrate on studying a subject you have a genuine interest in, and make the most of the other skills and experiences you can develop during your time at university – clubs, charities, part time work.