Antiquated resources and ineffective education establishments are killing graduate prospects

Let me start by saying that I’m no expert in Graduate recruitment, nor would I ever have the gumption to profess that I am. However, I like to think I know what I’m talking about when it comes to offering careers advice: I was the lead careers writer for Monster when they won the Best Employment Advice on the Internet award an unprecedented three consecutive years, and my articles have appeared across a range of media, including MSN, Men’s Health, Woman magazine, TotalJobs, and I was technical editor for the highly acclaimed Job Hunting and Career Change for Dummies. OK, credentials to speak on this matter over with, I find myself increasingly alarmed and concerned over this whole issue of graduate recruitment per se. Let me explain a little more of what I mean.

Each week we read stories that today’s graduates are either wholly unprepared for the big wide world of work or there simply aren’t enough jobs out there for them anyway. Only this week, we’ve learnt that the lack of graduate jobs is prompting many to take a gap year, with some 6 out of 10 graduates in jobs that don’t actually require a degree, and that the unemployment rate among graduates (20%) is double the national rate (7.8%). Now here’s my gripe: whilst it is right to highlight the plight of graduates in the current labour market, there is a distinct lack of action actually being taken on the behalf of the education establishments and a failure among other leading careers resources (job boards in particular and careers book publishers) to address the situation.

Yes I know that Messrs Cameron et al have announced plans to tackle youth unemployment. However, whilst creating jobs is one side of the coin the other – perhaps more critical side of that same coin is that today’s graduates are, on the whole, simply unprepared and lack the skills needed in the modern economy.

I have published in excess of 600 careers articles in recent years tackling all aspects, from job hunting to career change, workplace and management issues to redundancy and employment legislation. And the articles I produced back in 2008 and beyond are very VERY different to the ones I currently write. Why? Because the entire recruitment landscape has changed unrecognisably in just 3 short years.

If you go onto Amazon looking for a graduate careers book you will find that one of the biggest selling titles was published 10 years ago. Ten years ago!! Although it offers some sound careers advice it’s greatest failing is that it was written at a time when graduate employment was buoyant, which makes the vast majority of its content totally irrelevant in today’s job market. So it would seem that much of the careers advice that is currently available to graduate job seekers is antiquated and not applicable to the here and now.

University careers services are guilty of the same thing. Not only do they lack any real understanding of modern job seeking methods, such as how to use social media to unearth career opportunities or how the recession has influenced the entire recruitment landscape, but they too have failed to effectively prepare students – whilst at undergraduate level – for what will be waiting for them.

Today’s graduates are this country’s business leaders of tomorrow. The current state of play places the onus on graduates to arm themselves with the skills they need to make themselves stand out from the ever-increasingly competitive jobs marketplace. However, we’re talking about young people who are by and large in their early twenties with little or no concept of what ‘effective communication skills’ or ‘business acumen’ really means. Higher and Further education institutions need to take greater responsibility and implement skills programmes for ALL their undergraduates before they graduate, not after.

About yourcareermatters
CareerMatters was founded as part of MacKenzie-Cummins Communications in 2006 by Paul MacKenzie-Cummins MICG (Member Institute of Careers Guidance), regarded as one of the UK's leading career's advice and guidance writers and specialist PR consultant for the UK recruitment industry. Since 2006 Paul has been the leading advice writer for and - the two biggest careers website in the world -tackling all aspects of workplace and management issues, job seeking, career change and hiring trends. In 2006, 2007 and 2008 his writing contributed to Monster winning the Best Employment Advice on the Internet Award for an unprecedented three times beating the likes of The Guardian, Learn Direct and Personnel Today on each occasion. And his work was a runner-up for the same award in 2009. In 2009 Paul was a nominee in the prestigious HR Journalist of the Year Award and Recruitment, Retention & Motivation Journalist of the Year Award. Paul has been commissioned to write more than 500 careers advice and guidance articles for a number of lpublications, from regional and national newspapers to industry publications and various career-specific websites in the UK and USA. Recently, Paul was the Technical Editor for career psychologist Dr Rob Yeung's Job Hunting & Career Change for Dummies (John Wiley & Son, 2007). Dr Yeung is better known as the TV psychologist for Channel 4's Big Brother and the BBC's Who Would Hire You? series. Clients include: MSN Careers (Europe) TheLadders TotalJobs IntaPeople Recruitment Lifetracks/YouthNET MediaSalesJobs The Press Gazette

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