For those of you struggling to motivate yourself through January exams, weather and refreshers flu, every cloud has a silver lining. The BBC recently announced that UK graduate recruitment prospects are at a 10 year high, and students can expect 8% more vacancies than last year.
This means that as you're filling in your GCSE exam boards or getting ready for your personality questionnaires or preparing for the latest numeracy test, you can reassure yourself that you are entering the most attractive job market for a decade. The key to securing a top role seems to be undertaking work placements - a third of jobs are expected to be offered to graduates who have managed to do so. Currently, more than four fifths of the UK's leading graduate recruiters are now offering paid-work experience programmes for students and recent graduates, with an unprecedented 13,049 available this year. Two-thirds offer paid internships during the holidays for final-year students, while half make industrial placements available as part of a degree course.
Whilst this is the third consecutive annual increase in graduate employment, every silver lining also has a cloud. Half of the recruiters polled by the BBC said that candidates with no work experience are unlikely to be successful applicants, with 'little or no chance of receiving a job offer through graduate programmes.' Yet the problem with needing work experience to secure a job is that it is very easy to become caught in a vicious circle - you need experience in order to get work, but you also need work in order to get experience. The growing number of placements open for first-year undergraduates exemplifies this increasing pressure to not get 'left behind'; and more and more students are being forced to undertake badly paid work experience (or not even paid at all) in order to try and get those crucial CV brownie points.
Although universities minister Greg Clark said that 'this report should be warmly welcomed by the record number of universities who have started university this year,' he betrays himself by reminding us that numbers of students are also at an all time high. Therefore whilst we should be celebrating the fact that Britain's top companies will recruit more graduates a year than they have for a decade; we should also note that there will also be more graduates looking for jobs than there have been in a decade, and so it will be interesting to see if the statistics on number of applicants per place has altered that significantly. Only time will tell.