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Take time finding a job says UCAS head

Published: Wednesday, 10 May 2017   Category: All Graduate Jobs News

Mary Curnock Cook, the outgoing head of the UK-based Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) has advised graduates to take their time when it comes to job hunting.

Students should take their time to find their “career niche” instead of putting their studies at risk by worrying about the prospects of a high-paying, high-flying job, she suggested.

Measuring success

While pointing out that her advice shouldn't be taken as an excuse to leave university and hang around doing nothing, the UCAS boss did stress that she felt it was a shame that the metric for the success of universities in preparing people for graduate employment is measured by the number of them in graduate jobs after six months.

Noting that the 21st century workplace is all about finding a niche, Ms Curnock Cook pointed out that it could take a job-hopping process that might include six or seven changes in the course of a career before some graduates found a suitable occupation and employment sector.

Mental health

Cook’s timely advice follows on from recent reports that highlight concerns about the mental health of many students at British universities.

The Higher Education Policy Institute released a report last year which found that 10% of students suffer from a ‘diagnosable mental illness’ and called for universities to increase their mental well-being services.

The demands of university and preparation to ultimately join an increasingly competitive job market are possible reasons for the trend. Ms Curnock Cook had previously expressed the opinion that the obsession with graduate employment meant that students were fixated on a career-driven mentality.

Her solution was for students to consider a post-graduation plan of doing temporary or volunteer work and to take their time before getting a permanent job, so as to find something they enjoy doing.

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