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Students see degrees as an investment for the future

Published: Tuesday, 25 January 2005   Category: Graduate recruitment | Graduate Job sector Reports

Over eight out of ten students (82 per cent) are optimistic about getting a job upon graduation; according to the latest UNITE Student Experience study.

On average, students expect to earn just over £19,000 in their first job, rising to £29,500 after five years.

Over a half (57 per cent) of students, chose to go to university because they believe it will improve their job prospects. Almost nine out of ten (89 per cent) agree that the money they are spending on their education is a good investment in their future.

Employability following graduation does not appear to be a worry for today’s students (81 per cent) agree that university has set them in good stead for their working lives. Nearly four in ten students (37 per cent) anticipate starting work straight away in a graduate job. Around a quarter, (24 per cent) will start to look for a career job when they graduate; while about the same proportion (22 per cent) intend to take a temporary job. A fifth (19 per cent) intend to go travelling following graduation.

Commenting on the findings, Jonathan Benn, Jonathan Benn, Managing Director of The WorkBank, the on-campus organisation which helps students manage their work and university life balance, said:

“Despite 62 per cent of all students agreeing that increasing numbers of graduates will make it harder to get a job, hopes remain high of securing employment. The more relaxed attitude towards initial employment destinations is a sign of their enduring confidence in their worth to the employment market. Students seem happy to embark on temporary jobs and take their time to consider their career options in more depth. Salary expectations are realistic, comparing well with average salaries for graduate positions reported by other studies.”

While employability following graduation does not appear to be a worry for today’s students, perhaps one of the more shocking findings of the research this year is that only a fifth of students in their third or subsequent year feel they will emerge equipped with good spelling and grammar skills. However, many do feel that university has equipped them with essential soft skills for the world of work – the ability to work under pressure (61 per cent), self confidence (49 per cent), working constructively with others (47 per cent), organisational ability (48 per cent), and initiative (34 per cent).

Paid employment

42 per cent of students have a job and work on average 14.5 hours a week earning around £86. While a large proportion of students (68 per cent) report that they work because they need the money for basic essentials. Over a quarter (27 per cent), undertake paid employment to gain extra skills, with a similar proportion (23 per cent) recognising the benefits to their CVs.

Nicholas Porter, Chief Executive Officer of UNITE, which has commissioned the research for the past four years, concluded:

“This generation of students appears to appreciate the skills they will require in the workplace and has learnt to draw from their experiences of university life to enhance their employability. Considering the proportion of students earning money while they study, I’d urge students to look again at the jobs they are undertaking and articulate the skills they are doubtless picking up onto their CVs, from time management and prioritising, to problem solving and communication.”

Source: www.agr.org.uk 25/01/05

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