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Business Warned Of Graduate Time Bomb

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Business warned of graduate time bomb

Why making easy recruitment cuts could harm UK companies.

If Toby Irving had his way, he'd be one of the people working hard to overcome the recession. Instead, he's another statistic of it.

The 21-year-old LSE graduate is desperate to find work in the City, but feels like he is banging his head against a brick wall.

"It's frustrating. What I find especially annoying is that in previous years it seemed like City jobs were being thrown around. Now you have to be at the extreme top to even get an interview."

With three As at A-level and a CV jam-packed with work experience and internships, Toby wasn't expecting the milk round to turn so sour (see box right).

The struggle facing graduates trying to break into the job market is well-documented, but what has been less well discussed is the long-term affect on business.

A report by the European Association for People Management (EAPM) and the Boston Consulting Group warns of a human resources time-bomb as the "baby boomers" near retirement age, and cuts in graduate recruitment slow the stream of new blood to a trickle.

Stephanie Bird, a board member of EAPM and director of HR capacity at the Chartered Institute for Personnel Development, says: "It's short-term gain, in exchange for long-term pain.

"We've seen in the past, and we're seeing now, how companies will over-recruit when times are good, and then shut the tap off when things get more difficult.

"The attitude is we'll think about it when we get there. Then you'll find yourself relying on other people for strategy and becoming dependent on them; it becomes a case of buying people, not building them."

Nick Tout, director of Hays recruitment's accountancy and finance department, says: "Most commercial organisations have significantly lower hiring levels and many have stopped graduate recruitment completely – they will be the first to suffer when there is an upturn.

"The investment in training and upskilling candidates that will then be required may negate any short term cost-cutting that is being achieving by not recruiting graduates."

Martin Birchall, managing director of High Fliers, which specialises in graduate recruitment research, admits that the situation is "bleak".

"We have a massive, massive oversupply of graduates," he says.

"The graduate population has doubled – but the number of graduate jobs certainly hasn't. There are now 40 or 50 graduates chasing every job in the market."

High Fliers report that investment banks have slashed their recruitment by almost half, while high street banks and other financial organisations have also decreased their graduate intake.

"Last year when we interviewed 15,000 final-year students from the class of 2008, investment banking was the second most popular destination. This year, it only just made it into the top 10 in terms of the number of students applying. And teaching is the top destination for the first time.

"So I think students have recognised that they need to go for the areas which perhaps are recruiting, and have better job security, rather than chasing high salaries," he says.

Interestingly, Britain's two largest graduate recruiters – PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte – are maintaining their recruitment at the same level as last year.

Both companies are taking on 1,000 graduate trainees, and argue that reports of a drop in graduate vacancies have been overplayed.

Sonja Stockton, head of recruitment at PWC, said: "The market has certainly shifted. We've taken some of the best talent from investment banks. And we've also still got vacancies in the regions.

Sarah Shillingford, graduate recruitment partner at Deloitte, agrees that applicants need to be flexible about where they work.

"My concern is that some graduates think the degree of difficulty is far worse than it is, so that is putting people off trying," she says.

"People think that jobs have been filled up, when they haven't at all."

Ms Shillingford adds that the current squeeze on graduate recruitment across the financial sector may mean ripe pickings for those who do manage to break in.

"I don't want people to think I'm saying it is easy – but there are a lot of people who perhaps think things are worse than they are."

Stephanie Bird of the Chartered Institute for Personnel Development says: "Not all organisations would be able to continue recruiting, as Deloitte and PWC have done."

Parents had better accept that their adult children will be staying at home for a long time.

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er, i think 50 graduates for every job is nothing new. i wont go into my boring history again but there never were any graduate jobs. there never will be.

universities and corporate recruitment departments are to blame for ramping up expectations.

i never had a job.

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Graduates have completely the wrong approach.

The trick is to study the same discipline as your father, and then on graduation apply to the company that your father works/worked for. You then get your 5-ish years of experience (WAY MORE important than your degree) and proceed up the earnings ladder from there.

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er, i think 50 graduates for every job is nothing new. i wont go into my boring history again but there never were any graduate jobs. there never will be.

universities and corporate recruitment departments are to blame for ramping up expectations.

i never had a job.

It was the education bubble.

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er, i think 50 graduates for every job is nothing new. i wont go into my boring history again but there never were any graduate jobs. there never will be.

universities and corporate recruitment departments are to blame for ramping up expectations.

i never had a job.

There defiantly are milk round graduate jobs. Most milkround jobs are fast track into middle management and beyond.... but you have to be a people person, and in the top of your class in business subjects. I applied for some but didn't make it as I was aiming for tech jobs. Ive also watched 7 years of milkround graduates fighting for survival in a FTSE 100 company, about 10% make it through the first two years into a management position, the others end up being stuck in a lower ranked position. It is a bit like the apprentice but for real.

I don't know how many milkround jobs there are BUT it has always been a fight. The problem with grads (inc me at the time) is they think that they have a degree and the world owes them a well paid job, uni is a small stepping stone/ceiling breaker, the real work starts after uni...

Edited by moosetea

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it's a good thing that all those middle class people born in the 1950s & 1960s made so much money on their pwoperdees - looks like they'll be supporting their grown-up children for a few years yet.

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It's like The Graduate meets Swarm.

Watch in fear as a plague of graduates invades this once peaceful world. Cower, as they compete for jobs. Watch in wonderment as they realise they have been had.

I shouldn't have to compete with graduates in my line of work, but there they are, their shitty irrelevant qualifications clogging up the desks of my likely employers.

Soon it will be enforced gap years, if only the army could afford it, eh?

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There defiantly are milk round graduate jobs. Most milkround jobs are fast track into middle management and beyond.... but you have to be a people person, and in the top of your class in business subjects. I applied for some but didn't make it as I was aiming for tech jobs. Ive also watched 7 years of milkround graduates fighting for survival in a FTSE 100 company, about 10% make it through the first two years into a management position, the others end up being stuck in a lower ranked position. It is a bit like the apprentice but for real.

I don't know how many milkround jobs there are BUT it has always been a fight. The problem with grads (inc me at the time) is they think that they have a degree and the world owes them a well paid job, uni is a small stepping stone/ceiling breaker, the real work starts after uni...

Your right, but considering the small number of milk round and other graduate vacancies there might as well be none at all.

Also, I think we all know whos going to get the jobs. When I graduated I was clueless. If I could do it all again I would not go to university. I really thought I would get a job, in in essence most people know before they go whats going to happen. Kids from private schools expect to get a job. They accept that they are being groomed. I on the other hand worked like hell and got nothing as i was doomed to goto hell. Its pointless people like me trying. For all intense and purpoese there are no jobs.

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It's like The Graduate meets Swarm.

Watch in fear as a plague of graduates invades this once peaceful world. Cower, as they compete for jobs. Watch in wonderment as they realise they have been had.

I shouldn't have to compete with graduates in my line of work, but there they are, their shitty irrelevant qualifications clogging up the desks of my likely employers.

Soon it will be enforced gap years, if only the army could afford it, eh?

I get landed with them. Personally I can't stand them. Try and teach them, fast track their careers, look after them . . . they despise you for it. The rudeness of these kids and they don't struggle like I had to.

I've told the firms I work for . . . please don't make me train graduates any more.

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There defiantly are milk round graduate jobs. Most milkround jobs are fast track into middle management and beyond.... but you have to be a people person, and in the top of your class in business subjects. I applied for some but didn't make it as I was aiming for tech jobs. Ive also watched 7 years of milkround graduates fighting for survival in a FTSE 100 company, about 10% make it through the first two years into a management position, the others end up being stuck in a lower ranked position. It is a bit like the apprentice but for real.

I don't know how many milkround jobs there are BUT it has always been a fight. The problem with grads (inc me at the time) is they think that they have a degree and the world owes them a well paid job, uni is a small stepping stone/ceiling breaker, the real work starts after uni...

I always go the impression that a lot of people threw vast amounts of energy into getting a good degree, thinking they'd then made it. They didn't seem to realise it was only the start of the real climb and had nothing left in the tank.

I also think that it doesn't prepare people at all for the skills you need to get on in the real world. If you've got great grades and zero people skills you're still going to struggle to get on.

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Your right, but considering the small number of milk round and other graduate vacancies there might as well be none at all.

Also, I think we all know whos going to get the jobs. When I graduated I was clueless. If I could do it all again I would not go to university. I really thought I would get a job, in in essence most people know before they go whats going to happen. Kids from private schools expect to get a job. They accept that they are being groomed. I on the other hand worked like hell and got nothing as i was doomed to goto hell. Its pointless people like me trying. For all intense and purpoese there are no jobs.

I think your half right about uni, it is good for some bad for others. I would do it again.... BUT not with todays costs. Our currently company wont take non graduates, or graduates from shoddy uni's because you need a certain level of mental horsepower to make it through a good uni with a good degree, its a simple way of getting rid of a chunk of the trash in one swoop. Uni is defiantly required if you want to be a doctor or a dentist :P

I think any skills even the sofer skills can be learnt by everyone. Somone on the autsitic spectrum can learn how to mix and interact with people in a socially acceptable way by reading the right books and putting it into practice, listening and watching others and most importantly watching and listening to themselves and seeing what they are doing/acting differntly. Ofcourse if they want to or not is another thing all together, as it could be 'tedious'. There aren't many jobs out there at any level, this is survival of the fittest.

Edited by moosetea

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Our currently company wont take non graduates, or graduates from shoddy uni's because you need a certain level of mental horsepower to make it through a good uni with a good degree, its a simple way of getting rid of a chunk of the trash in one swoop.

LOL!

Obviously you have never worked in a Uni, hence dont understand that ALL degrees are useless bits of paper.

How on earth do you tell the difference between a candidate with a 2-1 from hard graft, or a 2-1 from not doing any work and being offered the 2-1 as they 'came out' / depression/ etc?

Unis can give out degrees WITHOUT work, the quicker you understand this, the better the candidates you will get.

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long-term affect on business.

What's wrong with the Telegraph? Why don't all newspapers (and anywhere that accuracy is supposed to matter) have automated language-checkers that highlight strings like "affect on" and ask if you really mean "effect on"?

Cretins.

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Graduates have completely the wrong approach.

The trick is to study the same discipline as your father, and then on graduation apply to the company that your father works/worked for. You then get your 5-ish years of experience (WAY MORE important than your degree) and proceed up the earnings ladder from there.

I love that middle class twaddle!! Do you say crikey and watch cricket on the village green sipping warm beer on a Sunday afternoon?

;)

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I do have sympathy for those looking for grad roles at the moment, as the first couple of years after univ are very important for getting off on the right track.

I think it is true that the cream rises to the top in the end, but this can take a good few extra years if you don't get the early break.

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LOL!

Obviously you have never worked in a Uni, hence dont understand that ALL degrees are useless bits of paper.

How on earth do you tell the difference between a candidate with a 2-1 from hard graft, or a 2-1 from not doing any work and being offered the 2-1 as they 'came out' / depression/ etc?

Unis can give out degrees WITHOUT work, the quicker you understand this, the better the candidates you will get.

My most successful employee? A married mum of two kids from Maidstone who got a few GCSE's. Everything done perfectly, on time etc. She only worked from 9am until 3pm and did more than two of the MSc graduates.

One of the Master's graduates, from a good University, a science course, spelt mercury, 'murcury'. Multiple times.

I tell you, HE in the UK is real BS.

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My most successful employee? A married mum of two kids from Maidstone who got a few GCSE's. Everything done perfectly, on time etc. She only worked from 9am until 3pm and did more than two of the MSc graduates.

One of the Master's graduates, from a good University, a science course, spelt mercury, 'murcury'. Multiple times.

I tell you, HE in the UK is real BS.

I agree with this.

What concerns me is that non-graduates now get dumped, just as a matter of slimming down CVs before reading them.

I graduated from a 1 year course in silversmithing - do I put this back on my CV just so they see the word 'graduate'?

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i think what graduates dont understand is that doing the job is usually pretty simple. Most people high up dont really do much and what they do do is not particularly challenging. I think the key to understanding how graduate work works is understanding power. Its mostly a powerplay and thats easier to see in the social side of things. But i've seen so many managers that are crap at what they do its unreal. They dont apply logic, reasoning or sense, instead its power. We do it this way because I say so..... and thats it. Even if its wrong.

For example, if your the sort of person that is in a team and speaks only to get overspoken by a louder person with a crappier idea then you have lost out to a power play. Thats how it works in my opinion and thats something that alot of graduates cant account for especially if like me they dont understand it.

I grew up thinking that the people with the good ideas and smart thinking would win through, but it doesnt. Its the poeople that can channel power so that the boss feels great etc etc. I cant explain it, but filling in CV's is a waste of life unless you can do that. All that will happen is you'll end up, as i did, getting a smiddgen of government agency work as the government employees all minorities and rthnic types including nerdy loosers.

wibble

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just something else. someone said that the first 5 years are the most important. Agree with that soooo much. Thats why i get frustrated when i see directors sons and daughters getting places in their companies. if you dont have good experience then you go to hell. you also relive all the crap experience for the rest of your life.

I remember the dole saying time and time again when looking at my CV, but that was then, reffering to my cv that said i had two degrees, this is now and we have to look at your latest experience, which was, er..... cleaning supermarket floors.... so... er, your actually a cleaner. That would really get me as it was clear the dole people are evil and were just trying to bury the knife and it was also clear that i was a fit healthy young man with a bright outlook and working brain and they wnated to cut me down to the sort of person that was old, fat, had health problems and had shiit for brains.

These are the prospects for graduates.

welcome to the new slave age.

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I agree with this.

What concerns me is that non-graduates now get dumped, just as a matter of slimming down CVs before reading them.

I graduated from a 1 year course in silversmithing - do I put this back on my CV just so they see the word 'graduate'?

She hadn't had a job in years. Left school at 16. Could just do stuff. Learn stuff. Like a sponge for knowledge.

Other good one's are ex-military. Seriously. Show them once. That's it. It's done perfectly every time. No complaining. No inane questioning. They just do it.

When I was 21, left University to no job, so made my own. I had a drilling crew. One guy, ex-North Sea crew chief, one ex-Marine. The North Sea guy was hopeless. Often drunk. The Marine . . . blimey I had to run to keep up.

Just my experience.

Although for medical stuff, advanced science, (DYIV/Little Professor etc), these guys are smart. They went to University for a real reason, did real degrees etc for real professions.

Trouble is, most University courses are BS. The Govt tried to get everyone to do 'Degrees' at 'Universities' when they should have stuck with the Poly-technics/day release/vocational stuff. Now they are trained and qualified in nothing, know nothing and are left confused and in debt. It's wrong.

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We've just advertised for graduates and we've had 31 applicants for a £20-25k job. It was incredible but we've rejected over 60% of them based purely on their inability to write a professional cover letter or email.

For example, we received the following from 'Yog Man':

dear

sir/madam

i would liek to apply for vacancy "Junior Business Intelligence Analyst" you have posted on prospectus.co.uk

pleas find my Cv and Covering letter attached.

thank you

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What a load of nonesense.

When I graduated, I applied for around 20 jobs before I got one. I declined 12 offers. That would still show up as "20 graduates chasing every job" on in their wording.

I'm not saying there aren't more jobs jobs than graduates, but the over dramatic language suggests that a mere 1 in 50 graduates will get a job.

A bit like the "5 buyers for every property" ******** the NAEA came out with a couple of weeks ago...

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