Graduates cautious about entering the workplace


Fewer than a third of this year’s university graduates plan to start working immediately, with many planning to go travelling or continue their studies, according to new research.

The Graduate Prospects study, carried out by MORI on campuses throughout the UK earlier this year, found that only one in three thought that they will soon be in employment, with more than one in ten planning to go travelling after the summer.

A further one in five of the 1,040 students surveyed said that they are due to start a postgraduate course.

The increasing importance of the internet to modern-day jobseekers was also underlined, with 78 per cent of graduates saying that they used the web to search for job vacancies or to look for a career path.

The research also confirmed that the internet was by far the most popular source of job information for graduates, with almost eight out of ten saying that they had used it to search for details about different career options, job vacancies or postgraduate courses.

Four out of ten graduates also reckon that the internet is the most useful general source of careers, job vacancy and postgraduate course information. This remains the case after graduation with almost three quarters saying they expect to continue to go online to access careers advice and information.

What these fail to reveal, however, is how graduates felt about the quality of online recruitment information and user experience. In July, research by online recruitment site Workthing revealed a startling disparity between jobseekers' use and expectations of the web and what is actually provided by employers. In particular, companies’ websites were criticised for failing to provide adequate information, while nearly six out of ten organisations still do not provide any form of online application mechanism.

Recent figures suggest that four out of ten employers now post vacancies on Internet jobs boards, but that nearly two thirds of these are unhappy with the response they are getting.

But the survey also found that university careers offices are considered to be an invaluable source of job information by over half of graduates, with one in three claiming that they will use the service after they graduate.

Mike Hill, chief executive of Graduate Prospects, said that the fact that so many graduates are planning to go travelling demonstrates the increasing popularity of the gap year.

"Whether taken before or after university, it can be extremely valuable. If it is well planned it can enable a student or graduate to learn and develop skills which will help them in their future careers," he said.