Panicked graduates apply for any job, survey shows

The scramble for graduate jobs has led to university leavers ‘blanket-applying’ to firms across sectors, with most ready to accept more than one job offer to hedge their bets, the latest research has found.

The warning comes as more than half of last year’s university leavers are planning to apply for degree-level jobs this year, competing with nearly two thirds (63%) of 2010 graduates, a study of 300 recent graduates and undergraduates revealed.

The increased competition has led to a panic response among candidates, who are applying to multiple firms across sectors far-removed from their studies, according to recruitment firm Alexander Mann Solutions, which conducted the survey.

Fifty-nine per cent of 2009 graduates were applying for roles across a number of sectors, while 64% of all respondents said they would accept more than one job offer to hedge their bets, choosing nearer the time the job which they preferred, or continuing to look for an alternative.

One in five (18%) of 2009 graduates were applying ‘for any job’, the study, published today, revealed.

Clodagh Bannigan, head of client services at the firm, said: “University leavers are adopting a ‘hit and hope’ approach: applying for as many positions as possible rather than carefully targeting the roles that are right for them. This type of approach can cause problems for employers.

“Businesses looking to hire graduates need to ensure that they have the processes and scalability in place to deal with the high volume of applications, without compromising on the human touch that is essential when looking to attract the best young talent. This is by no means an easy feat.”

Research by High Fliers out last month revealed that at least 25% of the graduates jobs available in 2010 had already been filled by last year’s graduates.

The study of the 100 top graduate employers in the UK revealed that firms were planning to hire more than 40,000 new graduates this year, however, despite cutting or leaving vacant nearly 10,000 posts.

Other findings from the Alexander Mann survey included:

  • 26% of graduates were confident of finding a graduate position this year.
  • 24% of 2009 graduates had been working in a role that requires a degree since leaving university.
  • 22% of 2009 graduates are confident of finding a position this year.

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