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.

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RECORD NUMBER OF RECRUITMENT START-UPS STIMULATED BY RECESSION

The recent economic downturn provided the catalyst for a record growth in the number of recruitment entrepreneurs eager to go it alone, according to MacKenzie-Cummins Communications, Wales’s leading specialist public relations consultancy for the recruitment industry. 

Despite the last two years being one of the most challenging periods the recruitment industry has faced, with 1 in 5 recruitment consultancies throughout Wales and the rest of the UK forced to shut up shop permanently, the number of people starting their own recruitment agencies has more than doubled (up 117 per cent) since 2005. 

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HR GETS A CREATIVE MAKE-OVER AS EMPLOYERS UP THEIR GAME IN WAR ON TALENT

Creative and digital media specialists are fast-becoming some of the most sought-after workers for human resources departments throughout Wales as employers struggle to keep up with the pace of technological advancements that are rapidly changing the way they attract and retain staff irrevocably, according to a leading recruitment specialist. 

Paul MacKenzie-Cummins, one of the UK’s leading employment and careers experts and director of Newport-based MacKenzie-Cummins Communications – Wales’s only and the UK’s second biggest PR firm specialising in the recruitment industry, has found that there is a significant lack of creative and digital talent available to help HR departments meet the challenges of recruitment in the increasingly tech-driven era.

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1 in 3 workers reveal redundancy fears

A new report published today has revealed that almost 1 in 3 (31 per cent) of all workers in the UK still fear the loss of their jobs through redundancy. Yet it would seem that many employees continue to put their own career at risk. 

The research commissioned by Abbey Legal Protection and conducted by The Protection Gap also found that over a third (36%) of senior managers and almost half (42%) of executives without management responsibility identified redundancy as an existing concern. But what strikes me is that although more than half a million British workers will be ‘let go’ from their jobs every year and the air of uncertainty that still lingers in the current climate, why are some people seemingly playing a waiting game rather than proactively taking steps to safeguard their jobs if and when redundancy strikes?

There are an umpteen number of career advice articles offering a plethora of job search techniques that you can utilise to maximise your employment opportunities – I should know because I’ve written a large proportion of them for the likes of Monster, TotalJobs and CareerBuilder et al. But few talk about how to actually keep hold of the job you already have.

Yes, I know that job boards are money-making machines whose sole purpose is to create a ‘must get a new, different job’ mindset, however, there is the criticism that they are actively encouraging people to jump ship and swim to the land of milk and honey that is a new job rather than getting people to take a look at their present situation and helping them to consolidate and build upon what they already have – why create a need when there isn’t one?

So without turning this post into some kind of Tolstoyesque-length rant, here are my top tips for safeguarding your job against redundancy: 

  1. Have a clear goal for what you want out of your career and where you want to take it – researchers at the University of Pennsylvania interviewed 350,000 executives and discovered that the top 10 per cent performers worked to a plan and as a result, were also the happiest workers.
  2. Don’t delude yourself into thinking that you are not irreplaceable, because you are – identify our key skills and position yourself as an expert in a particular aspect of your job and be good at the things others are bad at. 
  3. Lead by example – If you have demonstrated that you are a solid performer who can be relied upon to meet your targets, position yourself as the person your boss can turn to when new starters join the company. Act as a mentor and offer to help them to find their feet, accompany them on meetings for example, and be the person they can turn to without them having to go to the boss. This will raise your profile in the office and will earn the appreciation of your manager who has a busy enough schedule as it is. 
  4. Brush up on your networking and social media skills – if the recession has taught us anything it’s that business is very much a case of who you know. So put yourself forward as the person who will happily mingle with the key players in your industry both online and offline.
  5. Avoid the office neg-heads like the plague and don’t allow yourself to be drawn into their sphere of negativity – keep your own attitude in check and focus on the things that make you happiest instead of dwelling on the bad elements at work.

How the UK works versus the rest of the world

With more than half of British workers claiming they have experienced symptoms of overwork and a further 4 million already working over 48 hours each week, the work-related stress and long-hours culture has encroached our society. But if you think that we have it bad in the UK, spare a thought for some of our colleagues around the world. 

This article looks at how the UK’s working culture compares to that of other nations and after reading, you may just find that we actually have very little to moan about.

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Making waves in the desert

Log onto any of the jobs sites for journalists and you will be awash with a plethora of recruitment adverts attempting to lure you away from the UK to ply your trade in the UAE, with the promise of creative freedom, ultra-modern surroundings and of course, tax-free income. But is it really all it’s cracked up to be, and can the likes of Dubai and Abu Dhabi really live up to the expectations of ambitious hacks?

Here we will look at the two regions in the UAE that are pulling out all the stops to seduce British journalists: Dubai and Abu Dhabi.  Read more of this post

Daily gripe: Graduates want to work, not train

The results of the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) bi-annual survey released yesterday highlight what many commentators have been saying for several months: there simply aren’t enough graduate jobs around. While the survey reveals that there are some 69 graduates applying for each position, this compounded by the fact that – like it or not – graduates are by-and-large simply ill-equipped with the skills needed to ‘make it’ in today’s working environment.

At risk of being shunned by my peers on this one, let me explain where I’m coming from.

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Schools ‘wasting’ £100m a year on recruitment costs – surely it hasn’t taken this long for Gershon to be proved right?

eteach, the UK’s leading education recruitment specialist, has hired a PR agency to inform its stakeholders that schools are wasting as much as £100m every year on recruitment costs – costs that could be drastically cut if employers streamlined their existing recruitment practices by migrating it online. While I agree that eteach is right to highlight this it astounds me is that schools are continuing to disregard the recommendations that were outlined in the Gershon Review in 2004.

Sir Peter Gershon was asked by the Government to identify ways in which public sector organisations could increase efficiency and make savings of £21bn over four years. And the streamlining of recruitment was one of the main areas highlighted.

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Employees at risk of burn-out

Yesterday I was talking about how a growing number of employers are biding their time and waiting for the ideal candidate to show up at their door before making a hire. Today the findings of a new survey suggest that employees are working harder that they did pre-recession to help get their organisations through these testing times. But there are obvious consequences of this.

The survey conducted by the Hay Group management consultancy found that 65% of UK workers are working unpaid overtime while 30% of all workers report that their organisation is a worse place to work than it was a year ago. And a further 36% claim they are ‘unhappy’ in their work. What these figures illustrate is the perilous state in which we now find ourselves.

Let me explain what I mean.

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Cherry-picking employers will pay the price for being too choosy

Competition for jobs is at a 14-year high and employers have never had it so good. So good in fact that they can afford to be selective and cherry-pick their ideal candidate based on competency, enthusiasm and experience, according to a new report published today. But in their bid to recruit the best talent available in the market it seems that employers are being overtly-selective to the extent that their indecision to make an appointment is costing their organisations in the long term.

The cost and time-to-hire has been a major consideration for all recruiters since time and memorial. Yet despite a wealth of talent at their disposal only 23% of recruiters claim that it is easier to find suitable candidates. Yes there are more applicants per job and of course this means more time being spent sifting through applications.

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