In a bid to beat the recession, the majority of university careers advisors have reported that final year students are continuing into further study (81 percent) or trying to gain work experience (63 percent), according to a survey by the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU).
In what is widely reported as the worst recession since the Second World War, the study also reveals 17 percent of university careers advisers have reported a decline in the number of students and graduates seeking guidance. Only just over a third, 35 percent, reported an increase in the number of students and graduates seeking careers advice.
In the same survey, 78 percent of university careers services reported a decrease in the number of graduate jobs being advertised this year. However, some careers advisers had seen an increase in the number of graduate vacancies being advertised by locally-based companies, SMEs and community or voluntary organisations; particularly in the public, social care, education and engineering sectors.
HECSU researcher Kathrine Jensen led the study and comments: “With so many students graduating during a recession this should be a busy time for university careers services, helping students compile CVs and applications as well as prepare for interviews, but it seems this isn’t always the case. The rise in graduate opportunities in smaller companies could be due to the proactive approach being taken by many careers services to fill the shortfall of opportunities from the usual employers that advertise with them.”
University career services are also finding that graduate recruitment within the banking, finance, law and construction industries has been worst hit by the recession, and that there has been a decline in the number of vacancies being advertised by large, national companies.
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2 September 2009