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Graduates turn their backs on gap years to focus on job hunt

Published: Wednesday, 23 May 2012   Category: All Graduate Jobs News | All Graduate job news

Students leaving university are making a frantic bid to enter the graduate job market, putting plans of a ‘year out’ firmly on the back burner.

According to a study by High Fliers Research, just one in eight students plan to take a gap year once they complete their degree. This figure has decreased by two thirds over the last ten years, and is the lowest on record.

Just 12% of students who participated in the study, from 30 universities across Britain, are planning to take a gap year. This is down from 17% in 2009 and 20% in 2001.

Students are giving up the opportunity to complete volunteer projects and live and work abroad in far flung destinations.

The research also highlighted that over the last two years the number of applications for graduate vacancies has shot up by 40%. To increase their chances of securing a graduate job, undergraduates are applying for an average of seven jobs before their last year of university.

According to the study, students in their final year are applying for jobs as early as September or October, almost twelve months before they are due to graduate.

The number of job applications by students has increased in a year on year comparison; this is currently 360,000 compared with 343,000 in 2011. This is also up from a figure of 257,000 in 2010.

Martin Birchall, Managing Director of High Fliers Research, which carried out the study, said: “Record numbers of students are now opting to research their career options in their first or second year at university, rather than leaving job hunting until the final six months.”

The survey of 18,000 final year undergraduates also revealed that the rush to secure a job may have been motivated by a desire to clear mounting student debts. The average undergraduate will owe £19,400 this year, rising to around £30,000 for those taking degrees at some London universities.


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