Category Archives: Job Market

Posts on all things job-market related; whether this be general trends in student and graduate recruitment, advice on how to explore the graduate job market or how to compete well in it.

10 things students should know about the UK graduate labour market

 

As 2019 begins here is a myth busting insight into the graduate recruitment market.

University of Leeds Careers Adviser Suzie Bullock  summarises the keynote speech from the Institute of Student Employers conference delivered in December 2018, by:

Tristram Hooley, Chief Research Officer at the Institute of Student Employers, and Charlie Ball, Head of HE Intelligence at Graduate Prospects.  For more information, see the full presentation: 10 things you should know about the graduate recruitment market

So, the UK graduate labour market, what should you know?

  1. It doesn’t exist.
    Instead there is a series of discrete, usually urban regional labour markets that often influences the markets around them.  Remember, most people in the UK are not graduates and most jobs are not at graduate level.
  2. It is quite stable.
    The past is a fairly accurate guide to the future. Graduate jobs next year will probably be the same jobs as last year. Don’t expect radical changes. Graduates should see a steady salary increase.
  3. It doesn’t look too bad right now.
    For graduates, the recession ended in 2013. There is low unemployment among graduates and the postgraduate career development loan system is working. But warning signs are showing.
  4. The B word.
    A recession is looming and that, combined with Brexit, is likely to lead to economic vulnerability. Recruitment is slowing down but the impact on graduates is less.
  5. Place matters.
    London is the biggest graduate job market in the country, followed by: Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds – around a third of all graduates started work in these four cities in 2017 .  London is the least cost effective city to live in, Derby is the best, with Sheffield, Newcastle, Plymouth and Southampton close behind. Graduates are becoming concentrated in larger cities with local towns finding it hard to recruit graduates.  The cost of living is making graduates less mobile – to live in London it is estimated that a starting salary of £29,000 would only just cover the cost of living. This is having an effect on employers and, for example, PwC is moving out of London to more regional centres as they recognised that only a third of graduates wanted to move to London.
  6. Employers are using a mix of approaches to recruitment selection.
    While most employers say they rely more on a competency-based approach, 55% are combining approaches to include competency-based questions alongside strengths- based questions, technical questions and values-based questions. Employers continue to use different approaches to recruitment with 89% of Institute of Student Employers’ organisations reporting that they use assessment centres, 71% use psychometric tests, 71% use face to face interviews, 66% screen CVs, 58% screen by degree classification and 39% screen by phone interview.
  7. There is a significant shortage of graduates now.
    There are severe shortages in these roles: nurses; programmers and software development professionals; HR and recruitment; medical practitioners; welfare and housing associate professionals; business sales executives; IT user support technicians; sales account and business development managers; marketing associate professionals; general and specialist engineers; managers and directors in retail and wholesale; design and development engineers; web design and development professionals; vets; chartered and certified accountants.
  8. Life isn’t fair.
    Former public and independent school pupils dominate the UK labour market. But employers say they want to increase their intake of students from state schools and improve the diversity of their workforce so are trying out blind recruitment techniques and removing potential barriers, such as UCAS points.
  9. Graduate schemes aren’t everything.
    Other options to consider are larger companies recruiting ‘direct to desk’; large companies that aren’t big enough to have a graduate scheme; SMEs; non-graduate roles; and self-employment.  30% of graduates went to work for companies with fewer than 250 employees.
  10. There is a lot we don’t know.
    Most data comes from very early in a graduate’s career. Someone graduating in 2018 is likely to still be working in 2070. Based on those figures, someone retiring now, would have started work in 1966.

Remember, we are here to help you with all things career related;  making choices or plans, supporting you with applications, interviews and more.  See our Careers Centre website for details on how we can help you.

 

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Class of 2018: Can you really plan your career?

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This piece was written for Class of 2018 Month by Lisa Carr, a Careers Consultant at the University of Leeds Careers Centre.

We are taught from an early age that successful careers are the result of planning. Parents and teachers ask us what we want to be when we grow up. Employers ask us about our 10 year career ambitions in interviews.

Yet in this fast-changing age of the gig economy, portfolio careers, and an increasingly AI-driven and globalised world, how realistic is it for anyone to really plan their career?

Should you even try?

The answer is yes – and no.

The traditional approach to career planning is analyse-and-implement. You work out your motivations and interests (using something like prospects planner), find out which jobs match, and then apply to an advertised vacancy. This approach still works well if you like planning ahead, want to commit to a long term career path and are applying for sectors which recruit well in advance, such as banking, teaching or law.

But not everyone wants to commit to a long-term career path. Often, you don’t know what you like doing until you are actually doing it anyway. In real life, most people’s careers unfold rather than being actively planned.

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Class of 2018: Getting the most out of the ‘hidden job market’

 

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This piece was written for Class of 2018 Month by Alex Proctor, a Careers Adviser at the University of Leeds Careers Centre.

“It’s not what you know, but who you know.” It’s a common phrase; a cliché even, but it’s one all graduates should bear in mind when undertaking their job search. The importance of contacts in any industry shouldn’t be understated, because the ‘hidden job market’ does exist.

My success story

I was fortunate enough to benefit from the hidden job market when trying to break into the world of Careers Advice and Guidance. While on a placement within the sector, I put time into developing professional relationships with two senior managers outside of my team. As a result, they went on to offer me a further unadvertised role.

Admittedly I wasn’t an expert for this particular job, and needed a lot of training to undertake the day-to-day responsibilities, but by demonstrating my networking abilities, enthusiasm for the sector and transferable skills, I managed to crack the hidden job market. Without working on my professional contacts, I might not have been fortunate enough to gain this experience, which I am still developing in my role at present.

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5 Graduate Fears and How to Overcome Them

Whether you’ve already graduated and are struggling to find that perfect job, or if you will be graduating soon, Francesca Hooper from Inspiring Interns provides some tips on overcoming fears that can often hold graduates back.

Remember that we at the Careers Centre are here to help you with all things post-university, whether you’re a current Leeds student or if you have already graduated. See our website for full details of our support and services.

As end-of-university celebrations fizzle out, reality decides it’s time to catapult you back to Planet Earth.  You are now ready to enter the ‘real world’!

Even though the internet is riddled with horror stories about post-uni life, you mustn’t surrender to the inevitable fear.  To help you, here’s a list of the five fears haunting graduates and tips on how to combat them.

  1. It’s taking too long to find a job

For some people it can take a couple of months, for others it can stretch to ten. It doesn’t mean you’re inadequate, it’s often just a matter of chance. Continue reading

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Did you graduate in summer 2017? Please complete the DLHE survey. Plus a glimpse of Leeds graduates’ destinations in 1920s, ’30s & ’40s.

DLHEIf you graduated from the University of Leeds this summer, we will be contacting you as part of the national DLHE survey. Please respond.

Every year we ask all those who have recently completed a course at the University of Leeds to take part in a survey to find out what they do after they graduate. We are interested in what you will be doing on 10th January 2018, e.g. work, study, voluntary work, traveling, something else. Continue reading

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3 Ways to Stand Out When Applying for Graduate Jobs

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Photo from StockSnap

This week we’re discussing some simple steps you can take to stand out from the crowd when applying for graduate jobs/internships.

If you’re a soon-to-be graduate looking to give yourself nightmares, Stephen King has nothing on job hunting statistics. To snag any given graduate role, you’re going to have to fight off thirty-eight other applicants, and that number only rises if you’re applying for a particularly competitive industry or particularly prestigious employer.

Of course, some of these competitors may quickly rule themselves out of the running with low grades, sloppy professionalism or general incompetence. But many won’t. And while polishing your CV and honing your interview technique will certainly put you ahead of less dedicated job-seekers, it won’t elevate you above people as prepared as yourself.

Luckily, there are ways to stand out from even the most experienced, conscientious and competent crowd. Using the methods below won’t guarantee you a job, but it’ll definitely up your chances.

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What is the recruitment process like at a startup or SME?

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Considering working for a start-up or SME? Find out what their recruitment process is like in this week’s blog post.

Over the past few years, there’s been a noticeable increase in the number of university leavers pursuing a graduate job at a startup or SME (small or medium-sized enterprise); over 50% of graduates now say they would rather work at a small company than for one of the larger, more traditional graduate employers. And it’s easy to see why, given working for an SME can be a great way of kick-starting your career. You’ll be given the opportunity to develop a wide skill set, take on high levels of responsibility and get the chance to really have an impact on the business and its development.

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