Employment and Skills

A third of graduates unemployed 6 months after graduation

A third of graduates unemployed 6 months after graduation

A research conducted by  totaljobs.com, has revealed that a third of graduates have been looking for work for more than six months despite completing more than 100 applications. Moreover, one in four of those who applied for more than a 100 jobs were not offered a single interview. Due to the saturated labor market and high unemployment rates, the expected salary for graduates has lowered to less than than £20,000 a year.

In response to the research findings Mike Fetters, Graduate Director of Totlajobs.com stated, “Overall, the picture for graduates is tough, but there are signs of improvement. We are seeing some growth in the number of jobs available. This is little comfort, however, for those that took the advice of successive governments and invested in their education only to find themselves forced through necessity to claim the dole and fail to be invited to a single interview.”

Figures released earlier this week however revealed the UK economy has slipped back into recession may make it even more difficult for graduates to find work in the immediate future.


  1. Interesting to read the comments already posted here. From an employers perspective, we have been really disappointed in the number of applications from Graduates we have received recently for sales positions within our business. I would have thought that the opportunity to join a global business like Kraft and launch a career would have been attractive. Apparently not !

  2. Based on my own experience as an unemployed graduate in the mid-nineties, which were perhaphs easier times. I can identify some factors that helped and some ideas on where one could take this.. Firstly the fundraising I did a year earlier for a Raleigh International expedition helped me to appreciate how important it was to target your letters to individuals or organisations and what a difference it made if you could find out something specific or make a specific connection. You could teach this as suggested as employability skills, or you could look at a broader basis set of skills, e.g targeted letter writting, networking, which could have many purposes not just finding a job. Secondly, I needed experience, what kind of work this was turned out to matter less than the skills this enabled me to use, develop and recognise I had. Thirdly was the much tricker task of balancing ones values and beliefs with my skills and what work was out there. A task which I personally don’t believe can be taught. I was lucky enough to have people who listened and cared and the space and opportunity to work this out for myself. For those that don’t have this or lose their way a personal adviser (like those being cut back on) to listen and advocate if needed can make a lot of difference.

  3. Julie: Appalling, even?…..Unfortunately??

    This is a fine example of ‘goal-post shifting’; poor spelling ignored; ‘Employability Skills’; define them?

    It used to be the case that one secured a job, and then one was trained; there was an initial period of learning, within the post, to get the new employee up and running.

    This, and the other contribution to this thread have more to do with blaming those without work, for their predicament; employers these days, it seems are more interested in rejecting applicants!

    Might there also be a course, that has to be paid for, in so-called ‘employability skills’, behind all this?

  4. As a parent of two Master Degree graduates, one who found a full time post at the age of 26 by applying for a job that required GCSE maths and one at the age of 22 still looking and an Educational Consultant I can offer some insight into the problems.

    First neither found their courses actually prepared them for the field into which they wanted a career. They have both agreed they would have been better off getting a job and then trying to establish a learning pathway.

    Secondly the application and interview process has been, for the most part, haphazard. Feedback on application, qualification, experiences or interview performance has been frequently refused when asked for and platitudes provided when it has been given.

    Often those interviewing have little or no skill in drawing out information and I believe are missing exceptional candidates due to this.

    An academic route is not always the best route into a career or profession but it is the most favoured by the academics. Vocational pathways are promoted by academics as second rate when in fact they are often first rate and the best option.

    The English Baccalaureate will not do anything to promote vocational pathways.

    Activities such as “Young Enterprise” and work experience have been eroded in schools due to pressure on voluntary activities and curriculum time. It could be a case of if it’s not measured it is of no value, the litmus test being “Will it improve our position in a league table?”

    Telling young people their qualification is of less value than before or they are easier does not help self esteem and the manner in which they present themselves at interview. Self belief is important we must be careful not to undermine it.


  5. So, if the graduates are applying for over 100 roles and not hearing back then what does that tell you! The one thing it tells me is that there could be a problem with their application (or lack of) skills. Just because you have a degree, it does not automatically qualify you for employment. You have to have the ability to promote yourself in such a way to prove that you are perfect for the role on offer. I blame the universities that these graduates are graduating from. The universities along with schools and colleges have no responsibility for the work outcome of their students, only to make sure they pass the exams (whatever level that may be). Employability skills is not being delivered in the education sector which I feel is appauling. Everyone can jump on the band wagon of ‘there are no jobs out there’. Believe me there are jobs out there but unfortunatly our young people have no idea how to apply for one, hence the disgraceful amount of NEETs (Not in Employment, Education or Training). Physics graduates gain a Physics degree, Business graduates gain a Business degree (I could obviously go on….) – this is because they are TAUGHT Physics/Business etc and so therefore THEY GET IT! So, what happens if you teach them employability skills – I think I’m done here!

    • I agree Julie. Employability should be built in to every programme. I have worked successfully with a number of graduates who were spending hours sending off 100’s of applications or C.V’s that were not tailored to the specific job role. When it comes to C.V’s and applications…..one size does not fit all! Best to send off 1 excellent application than 10 ‘untailored’ applications but unless graduates( and other job applicants) are taught this, then they don’t know!

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