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Positivity Is Key For 59% Of Grads Working In 'Non Grad' Roles


Matt Stevens from TalentLens UK explains why graduates should retain an optimistic view, despite the news that 59% of recent university leavers are working in 'non graduate' roles.  

Hot on the heels of last week’s A-level announcement, nearly 700,000 Year 11 students from across the UK received their GCSE results yesterday.

Their prospects are hard to predict but what is clear is that they will be part of an extremely competitive, if not over crowded graduate job market. 

With 461,120 pupils having signed up for university courses this year, coupled with George Osborne’s budget decision to withdraw maintenance grants from September 2016, places are expected to exceed last year’s record high of circa 500,000.


Welcome to the jungle

Assuming current university attendance trends continue, the majority of these two cohorts of pupils will be entering the world of work by 2018 and 2020 respectively.

There are fears that the growing numbers of students will not be able to pay their loans off within a reasonable time frame.

This concern is exacerbated by a recent report by the CIPD, which shows that circa 59% of UK graduates have ended up in ‘non graduate’ jobs – this surpasses all other European countries aside from Greece and Estonia. 


Inflationary pressures

In other words, the large increase in graduate numbers has resulted in ‘qualification inflation’, where many graduates are now applying for jobs which in the past would have been deemed as school leaver jobs.

Whilst a so called ‘lower skilled job’ might not have been the dream scenario when sitting in the student union and contemplating how that first million was going to be made, the reality is often different.

It is about what you make of your situation that counts – a residual benefit of graduates working in graduate jobs is that one can learn how the nitty-gritty of a business operates. It also teaches life lessons, such as the importance of customer satisfaction and hard work.


Inspiring Growth

Indeed, according to a recent survey by the CBI and Pearson, called Inspiring Growth, 64% of organisations cited relevant work experience as a major contributing factor when recruiting graduates.

This demonstrates the importance of possessing the required emotional intelligence for entry into today's workplace.

Admittedly, out of the 59% of graduates surveyed who are currently working ‘beneath themselves’, there will not be disproportionate numbers of ex private school pupils amongst their number.

The chairman of the Sutton Trust, Sir Peter Lampl has stated that “we know that graduates from less privileged backgrounds are under represented in the top professions”.


Who you are is not where you're from

In addition, with employers frequently complaining about a skills gap of their new GenY recruits, work experience takes on added significance.

The CBI / Pearson study reveals that "When selecting graduate recruits, businesses look first and foremost for the attitudes and aptitudes" of potential employees."
As depicted in the chart (above), this point is furthered with the discovery that nearly 90% of employers surveyed stated it to be the most important consideration when recruiting staff.
This all illustrates the importance of applicants developing their career readiness. 
There are plenty of opportunities for young people to do this but like all things, it is something that should be sought out, rather than expected to be provided.

The importance of objectivity

Whilst companies look for certain skill sets and abilities, if incompatible personality traits are displayed by candidates during the recruitment process but missed due to the exclusion of the objectivity that assessments offer, this can lead to de-motivation on the part of the new recruit and a financial / time cost to the employer.
Assessing inductive, verbal, numerical and critical thinking abilities of candidates helps 75% of FTSE organisations to impartially ascertain their aptitude for the role. In addition, determining personality traits and values reveals likely fit to the particular team / company culture. 
To discuss how TalentLens can help you to recruit and develop the right people in the right way, please feel free to contact us on 0845 630 8888 (calls cost 3p per minute plus your phone company's access charge) or info@talentlens.co.uk

Matt Stevens





Graduates / Gen Y

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