Class of 2010 must put summer to good use

As the university year draws to a close 62% of penultimate year students agree that the mood on campus is bleak about job hunting and 70% are of the opinion that there won’t be many jobs to apply for when they return after the summer for their final year, according to research by TMP Worldwide and TARGETjobs.

But research shows that despite the growing realisation that the recession is impacting on their future, undergraduates could still be doing much more to help improve their employability skills through work experience and engaging with employers ahead of their final year. 

Key findings show that a fifth (20%) of students have undertaken no kind of recruitment activity, whether applying for jobs, attending a graduate fair or listening to presentations from employers, and 60% have done no formal work experience or internship. 

There are good intentions planned for this summer before graduation however.

Setting aside travel plans or the necessity to simply earn money during the upcoming break half of students do plan to spend a fair amount of time doing research into job hunting and 89% think this will be a really important time to build up employability skills. 

Surprisingly, the research shows that 40% of students are not really sure which skills employers consider important and 61% are not entirely sure how to go about developing these skills suggesting that employers need to communicate clearly what skills they are looking for in the current economic climate.

Communication from employers about recruitment and career opportunities also seems to be getting lost with 65% of undergraduates believing that employers don’t seem very interested in hearing from students who aren’t yet in their final year and 45% are under the impression that there doesn’t seem to be much point in getting in touch with employers before this time.

Neil Harrison, Head of Research and Planning at TMP Worldwide, comments:

“Up until a few months ago 69% of students admitted they had no idea what a recession really meant but the importance of employability skills is now firmly front of mind with 95% agreeing that building employability skills is a big deal right now for graduates wanting to enter the workplace. 

“With unemployment at a 12 year high and 86% of respondents forecast to achieve a 1st or 2:I, it is clear that a good degree is no longer enough to guarantee a good graduate job. 

“Students are beginning to think about the job hunting process earlier and are keen to build on the right skills to secure their futures but the research also shows that employers need to be communicating career opportunities earlier to undergraduates and they need to be very clear about what employability skills they are looking for in these unprecedented times from leadership skills to team working.”  

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