Thursday, 12 January 2012

Well, duh.

Graduates without work experience face struggle to secure jobs, report says.

In other news, report proves Pope to be Catholic?

More than one-third of the graduate vacancies available are expected to be taken by people who have already worked for a firm while they were studying, a report by High Fliers Research has found.

This is, shall we say, obvious news. Employers prefer graduates who have a degree and experience within the working world. It's an absolute bastard, particularly when you realise that getting the experience is a catch-22 situation. Then again, I assumed that when I left university I had work experience. My work experience was in cleaning, retail, and care homes. I thought that having worked alongside studying since I was sixteen would show I was hard-working and knew how the working world operated.

That was a bubble that was burst quickly.

But a total of 36% of vacancies on offer are likely to be filled by applicants who worked for the company concerned while they were at university.

That's a bloody big chunk of vacancies put to one side for people who have already worked there, within vocational subjects. I don't resent those soon-to-be-graduates for their ability to know what they want to do with their lives at eighteen, or indeed their engineering/architectural/etc know-how, but I am jealous.

The main problem is that as a rule, you only work this particular issue out too late. It's difficult enough getting a job, let alone the mythical graduate job, and any job-seeking graduate could tell you that work experience is required.

So, if you're reading this, you will probably assume that I was a dim student who should have done work experience in Something Relevant, and that I deserve everything coming to me. To an extent, I suppose this is true. I should have worked harder to get work experience, or an internship. You know, the illegal ones where they don't pay you? Unfortunately, a combination of paying your own way through university (student loan pays the rent; what do you think pays the rest?) and living very far from London makes this a tricky proposition indeed.

I see the perspective of the employers. I really, really do. You'd rather have employees who have experience of the industry, and hell, you've got your pick of candidates. The perpetuation of this system means that you get free employees during the summer, too. Why not?

Well... because you're perpetuating a system wherein it's not what you know, it's who you know. Work experience involves being able work for free, and knowing someone to give you that experience. Talented graduates who are outside of the magic circle are not given a chance to prove themselves. I'm not a supporter of the idea that graduates should jump in at the top – you're young, you don't know very much, I get that. I'm happy to start at the bottom and work my way up through according to my merits.

But as my merits do not include living in the South-East, or having parents who were able to support me through university, or indeed having parents with friends who runs important firms, I'm not even getting the chance to get in at the bottom of the ladder.

However, presenting the idea that graduates need work experience as news? Yes, we had worked that on out for ourselves, thank you very much!

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