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 Top tips for attracting and calming jittery Brexit-fearing grad nerves

Findings have revealed several parallels between the career journey of the class of 2008 and the expectations of 2019 graduates. Half (50 percent) of those that graduated during the global financial crisis found it more difficult to secure a graduate role due to the crisis
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There’s Brexit jitters with 78 percent of grads fearing leaving the EU will have a negative impact on their career. One in two (52 percent) grads feel Brexit will make it more difficult to secure a job; 73 percent feel Brexit will negatively impact their salary either by lowering the starting salary or by hindering salary growth. Contributor Jonathan Portes, Professor of Economics and Public Policy – King’s College London.

Graduation usually comes with a feeling of accomplishment and anticipation but for this year’s grads, the feeling is less enthusiastic with 78 percent thinking that Brexit will negatively impact their career, according to new research by the UK’s leading graduate job board Milkround. The research explores how today’s graduates feel about the job market while also looking at how graduates faired after the last period of uncertainty in the 2008 global financial crisis. 

Findings have revealed several parallels between the career journey of the class of 2008 and the expectations of 2019 graduates. Half (50 percent) of those that graduated during the global financial crisis found it more difficult to secure a graduate role due to the crisis – taking an average of eight months to find their first career job. 

Ten years on, three fifths (58 percent) say the 2008 crisis had a negative impact on their career. This year’s graduates fear they will be subject to similar disadvantages as they look to enter the workforce with 78 percent thinking Brexit will negatively impact their career and 52 percent thinking it will be more difficult to secure a graduate role.

Jonathan Portes, Brexit and labour market economist at King’s College London, said: “Economic crises leave scars. More than a decade later, the British economy is still suffering from the after effects of the financial crisis. This research shows that the impacts were particularly severe for those who entered the labour market at that time, who found it more difficult to find jobs and haven’t seen the career or pay progression that they expected.  

“This has particular resonance today. Given the current healthy state of the UK labour market, it might seem surprising how pessimistic 2019’s prospective graduates are about the impact of Brexit. But history suggests that they are right be to be worried. Brexit may well prove not just to be a short-term economic shock, but to do long-lasting damage to young people’s career prospects.  Given the uncertainties, new graduates will need to be flexible and adaptable; that may mean accepting jobs in a different sector or location to their first preference if it gives them a foot on the ladder.”

Changing plans
With the challenges 2008 graduates faced limiting their entry into their desired career, half (50 percent) said they had to change their post university plans with three fifths (62 percent) taking a role in a different sector due to the lack of available roles. Already we’re seeing this year’s graduates taking a similar approach to delay their entry into the job market with 55 percent planning to postpone looking for their first role. Milkround’s research shows 60 percent expect they will need to take a role in a different sector, 18 percent think they will need to do temp work and 9 percent plan to instead go travelling. The results also reveal a 15 percent rise in the number of graduates who are planning to take up a postgraduate qualification, rather than heading straight into their career.

Salary expectations
Almost half (44 percent) of 2008 graduates reported their salary has not increased as much as graduates in previous year’s. The expectations are also set low for 2019 graduates, as over a third (36 percent) are not expecting standard salary increases post-Brexit. Recent research from The Resolution Foundation think tank supports Milkround’s findings, with those entering the labour market during the financial crisis impacted in terms of wage growth and salary. 

Not all doom and gloom
Despite the negative perception this year’s grads have of the current job market, the Office for National Statistics labour market research shows the number of people in work in the UK continues to reach record highs. In addition, Milkround has seen the number of graduate roles advertised on its platform increase by 104 percent year on year*. A recent report from the Institute of Student Employers, supports a positive outlook for this year’s grads with a clear majority (70 percent) of employers anticipating that Brexit will not impact their recruitment needs. In fact, employers on average anticipate a substantial increase (18 percent) in the number of graduates that they are trying to recruit this year and in the number of apprentices (47 percent) they plan to take on. 

Georgina Brazier, Graduate Jobs Expert at Milkround said: “It’s easy to see the similarities in the job market from 2008 when the global financial crisis hit to this year with so much economic uncertainty. While many graduates are concerned of the impact Brexit will have on their careers, we’re a month out with no clear indication of what will happen so grads should not let themselves be distracted with all the ‘ifs, buts and maybes’. We can somewhat put them at ease with the knowledge that Milkround is continuing to see an increase in the number of graduate roles advertised on our platform. We also offer plenty of resources to assist graduates in securing their dream role in the career of their choice. Increased competition in the market is not always a bad thing, it pushes graduates to be on top of their game and network more to gain invaluable industry connections.”

Top tips for grad attraction and confidence

Connect on an individual level
Get onto university campuses and connect with students face to face. It’s important to get your company name out there and sell your brand ethos to prospective employees.  

Go back to basics
Keep the application process simple and clear. Milkround‘s candidate compass survey has revealed job seekers like the basics, with 84 percent of respondents preferring a CV/cover letter application and 84 percent citing they would rather have a face to face interview than a telephone or video interview.

Keep it clear
Keep your job descriptions clear of jargon to not detract students and use this as an opportunity to talk about your companies approach post Brexit.

Understand your new recruits
Host a focus group to understand any mis-conceptions students may have about your company which will allow you to tackle the issues.

Look back to move forward
Reflect on your hiring experiences. What are you going to do differently from last year to strengthen the recruitment process? What worked and what didn’t work? Be Honest.

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