More than half of graduate jobseekers who left university in 2004 or earlier, are still looking for their first graduate appointment, according to a new report released today by employment agency Manpower.
The report, Graduate Skills and the Workplace, examines the skills, training and recruitment issues facing UK graduates and employers today.
It reveals a difficult transition period for many graduates looking for graduate level employment, with only 28% finding work within three months and a further 12% within the year. That leaves a significant proportion (54%) taking more than a year to secure that first graduate job.
The research shows a clear discrepancy between the expectations of employers and graduates towards the skills needed for work: half the graduates feel that they are entering the workforce with the necessary skills, while only 37% of employers are satisfied that new graduates have the right skills for the job.
The report also reveals that despite concern over the level of graduate skills, only 13% of UK employers have a graduate training programme in place.
Greg Teare, operations director at Manpower, said: “Given that we still have a relatively buoyant employment market in the UK, it is surprising that so many graduates are still seeking their first graduate-level job.
“With a gap between the skills levels of graduate jobseekers and the skills levels employers expect, graduates may need to look to alternative means of gaining the skills necessary for their chosen career, particularly as few companies provide graduate training programmes.”
Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the Association of Graduate Recruiters, said: “The transition into employment for graduates is clearly more difficult and uncertain than for previous generations, pointing to the need for students to be better prepared to manage the transition while in higher education.
“Internships and work experience offer [students and] graduates an invaluable opportunity to learn the workplace skills that employers are looking for.”
The report was drawn from an NOP study of 2,140 UK companies, supplemented with an online survey of 813 graduates.