Students fear for their job prospects

More than half of students fear for their job prospects when they graduate this summer, but a quarter continue to apply to the banking sector despite the recession, according to Milkround

Graduate recruitment website Milkround.com asked more than 150 students for their views on finding a job when they graduate.

Two fifths said they were “not confident” they would find a jobs and another 15 percent said they “not confident at all”. Of those who were more optimistic about their employment opportunities, less than a third are confident of getting work and just 14 percent claim to be very confident.

The survey results brought a surprising selection of favourite industries: a quarter of respondents said they would apply to employers in the banking sector, ignoring the job worries fuelled by the recession and the redundancies at major players in the industry throughout the year.

However, graduates are also intending to apply for more secure vacancies, with a quarter interested in local government jobs and 14 percent considering teaching as a career path.

Management consulting is of interest to 21 percent, while accounting and marketing were earmarked by 20 percent of graduates each.

The majority of this year’s finalists are keen to find a role before they graduate: nearly a third (65 percent) have applied for a job already.

Nearly one in five (19 percent) have secured a position, but half have yet to have any success. The remaining 34 percent are eagerly waiting to hear back from employers.

Milkround spokesman Mike Barnard said:

“I’m surprised to see so many of this year’s future graduates still keen to work in banking despite the recession. Those who do should get their applications in early and have gained experience in the sector such as through an internship to stand out from the other candidates.

“If not, it’s likely they will need to look to another industry to get a job this summer as the competition for places will be fierce. It’s heartening to see the majority of 2009’s graduates have already started applying for their jobs – if they can get a place secured ahead of the summer scramble it will help them relax over the exam period and ease potential money worries.”

When asked what they will do if they fail to get a job in the next three to six months, nearly half of respondents claimed they would attempt to pursue their career dreams.

Some 23 percent will keep looking for similar graduate jobs while another 21 percent will look for an internship or placement in the career they want. Just eight percent would change their career plans and apply for jobs outside their preferred industry and 22 percent will take any role they can get.

Students are also keeping their expectations low when it comes to their starting salaries as seven in 10 aim for £17,000 to £25,000 – figures well within their reach.

Some 26 percent are hoping for between £17,000 and £20,000 while 21 percent want £20,000 to £22,000 and a further 22 percent expect £22,000 to £25,000.

This year’s finalists do expect to be loyal workers: two thirds said they will be with the same company they start their graduate career with in two years time.

A combination of the poor job market, training contracts and the hope for promotion were cited as reasons to stay on.

Mike added: “A couple of years ago it was a jobseeker’s market, and graduates could jump jobs easily if they got bored – no longer. When you secure your first position, our advice is to get stuck in, build your skills base and gain as much experience as possible, and then look to move when the economy’s back in shape, which could be in a year to two years’ time, fingers crossed.”

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