A graduate scheme is no longer the golden ticket to a job

Young people have come up against a number of hurdles, including ‘working from home’ culture


Resource workshop (Photo: Resource)

Our bright, ambitious university leavers have never had it so tough, and a combination of peer and parental pressure is adding to the myriad problems new graduates are facing in finding that important first job.

As a result, we’re seeing more and more young people, those up to the age of 23, coming to us for help. The graduate scheme seems to no longer be the “golden ticket” to employment. There are fewer jobs available for them, and the salaries on offer are nowhere near as attractive as they used to be.

A recent piece in the Times underlines my thoughts, noting that “advertised graduate roles were down by a third last year compared with the previous year and pay is at historically poor levels”. Additionally, these young jobseekers are put under more and more pressure to find that important first paid role by parents and friends. They have become disillusioned and despondent – and who can blame them?

Naturally, Jewish parents who have invested in their children’s education by sending them to the best state or private schools, want to see them succeed. You can imagine them saying: “You left uni in the summer, and here we are at Pesach, and you still haven’t found a job.”

I think this is why we have seen an increase in young people turning to Resource and our team of professional advisors. Currently, around 10 per cent of our 240 clients are in this category. The figure has risen from eight per cent, and we believe it will continue rising.

We are talking about graduates with good degrees. They were affected by Covid, had no face-to-face lectures for two years and were stuck in their accommodation, many of them feeling miserable, not enjoying that unique university experience.

And now they are finding that these graduate schemes, many of which have been reduced in scope, are not what they thought they would be.

Here at Resource, we do our level best to help boost their confidence, along with their prospects, for that much-needed first offer of employment. It is essential to keep them motivated, to keep their spirits up.

Our advisors will stress the vital need for preparation. It is no good just checking out the potential employer’s website; prospective employees need much more than that.

They need to be checking out company reports and doing searches in their local area.

I know it’s a cliché, but the adage: “Fail to prepare; prepare to fail,” could not be more apposite for young people in today’s evolving job market.

I also believe that the explosion of “working from home” has been particularly damaging for new starters. WFH is a very contentious issue. Older people tend to be at the office with younger people at home, often without any real direction from their managers.

I know young people in much sought-after graduate roles within the civil service, who have been fast tracked into these positions, but they are struggling with the way WFH has changed the landscape, often for the worse.

One of these newcomers was telling me his manager had a young family and was working from home, which meant that he had more or less been left to his own devices. It is not an ideal situation for someone in their first job.

Very often, those working in these graduate roles feel ill-equipped to take on more senior roles because they haven’t had the building blocks of training to progress to a more advanced position.

At Resource, our skilled advisors can help provide the essential tools and confidence needed to start a graduate’s job search.

Victoria Sterman is the CEO of employment organisation Resource, based in north London

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