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Is competition for graduate jobs too tough?

09:29 UK time, Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Intense competition for graduate jobs means that more than three quarters of employers require at least a 2:1 degree grade. How difficult is it to get a graduate job?

The Association of Graduate Recruiters says there are more graduates chasing fewer jobs. With vacancies down by 7% and soaring applications there's an average of 69 people chasing each graduate job.

In response, 78% of employers are now filtering out applicants who have not achieved a 2:1 degree. One third of students achieve a 2:2 and will not even be considered by these employers.

Are you a job-hunting graduate with a 2:2? Are you an employer looking for graduates with at least a 2:1? Is the market for graduate jobs too competitive?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 9

  • Comment number 1.

    It's all relative isn't it.

    As someone with both university lecturer and industry experience, I would probably not hire a graduate with a grade below 2:1. Achieving a 2:2 is too easy to indicate that the graduate is an intelligent and diligent candidate.

  • Comment number 2.

    Graduates are needed throughout the British and western economies as we have to learn to compete with a much more enlarged and economically active world. China and India are now churning out graduates in their millions, Brazil is getting off the starting blocks and even parts of Africa are showing signs of potential. If we get really clever it could now be the dawn of a new educated age throughout the world. Unfotunately we live in a world of limited resources (some already approaching exhaustion), a burgeoning population and an environment that we have already badly polluted. So we need people with really active and educated brains to find our way through all the problems. Because of the limited resources the ultimate cake is limited in size and some of the sharp people in this world have already garnered oversized slices creating an economically divided and devisive society. By educating large numbers of graduates we have solved a couple of problems for those in control. We have supplied the economic system with minds able to keep things moving in the desired direction and we have also made their numbers so large that they can no longer demand the high salaries that used to be attached to a degree from day one, the graduate labour market is over supplied and so the cost of that input to industry is diminished. With globalisation and modern communications home grown graduates are also having to compete with all those Chines and Indians. Furthermore by having made all these graduates pay for their own education we have done it on the cheap ensuring that those already well situated do not have to be taxed with a really progressive income tax system.

    Clever Huh!

    But it does not augur well for the world or Britain of the future, we have become a very clever race technologically but our development socially is abysmal.

  • Comment number 3.

    How difficult is it to get a graduate job?

    Landing ANY job becomes more difficult the poorer the candidate, whether with respect to qualifications or experience. Employers are correct to look for the best way to invest time and money in training new recruits, and one of the only indicators they have available to make this decision is final year results.

    As for the question "Is the market for graduate jobs too competitive?", this sounds like a re-phrasing of "Should standards be dropped?".

    I would have thought the solution is evident, especially to all these newly qualified, university educated individuals: apply yourselves and work harder; your educations are heavily subsidised by the tax payer.

  • Comment number 4.

    Regardless of your attained education level with easy migration across European states it is incredibly difficult for anyone in the current uncertain financial climate to find a decent job.

    I do feel as if we are "missing a trick" i was considering the possibility of building our way out of recession
    Shortage of housing,
    sustainable energy
    regenerate the railways
    rather than cut cut cut.

  • Comment number 5.

    When governments foolishly aim to have nigh everyone getting a degree, instead of limiting the opportunity to those academically gifted, then of course the market is saturated with graduates.

    What is an employer to do to find those who are really capable, except raise the minimum achievement level ? The concern will be over qualification, but that's possibly better than taking on someone who is going to find the job difficult.

  • Comment number 6.

    Yes British Graduates are under Intense competition from millions of immigrants brought into the country - that's one of the reasons they can't get jobs

  • Comment number 7.

    If those leaving University with less than a 2.1 degree cannot get the sort of job they expected, they will displace school leavers and others lower down the scale who in turn displace those lower still, leaving those at the bottom no chance at all. This is the most worrying consequence of the recession and will permanently blight the lives of many young people, as the recessions in the 30s, 80s and 90s did.

    The situation is being made worse by the ideological attack on public service mounted by the UK government. An opportunity is being lost to recruit able young people to do socially useful jobs such as teaching, social work etc., without the usual overpowering competition for recruits from socially useless private jobs like manning trading rooms in the City.

    We will all pay the price of our government's folly, not only those who are leaving school or university at the moment.


  • Comment number 8.

    There isn't much to say here, there isn't a great job market and thus employers who need academic people are setting the bar higher. If there were more jobs then it would be easier to get a job, but it isn't so it isn't.

    Actually in the nine years I have been working/hunting (four jobs) I have never been asked to provide my grade and only once been asked to prove my qualification.

    For some employers grade isn't relevant and it is worth noting that most companies I know refuse to take calls from recruiting companies, they are actually not representing the entire market. Most companies do their own recruitment and use their own criteria.

  • Comment number 9.

    This is a simple case of supply and demand. As the number of graduates goes up relative to the number of jobs available then employers can demand higher and higher requirements and still know there'll be enough people available to fill the posts.

    Going to university doesn't give you the right to a graduate job, just the possibility. When embarking on a degree you should ask yourself if the value it adds to you as a person is worth the time and money it will 'cost' you to take it.

  • Comment number 10.

    I have just received my degree results and I am the very proud owner of a 2:2 lower second class honours in French. Although I have received a 2:2, this doesn't mean to say that I cannot speak French and unfortunately most Master Programmes and graduate recruiters require at least a 2:1. Whereas most other companies, I believe, would rip your hand off to have a language speaker join there team, as you can either speak the language or you don't. A degree is a degree and that alone should make you stand out from the rest, no matter what level you have attained. There are plenty of language teachers out there that received a 2:2. I don't understand why our culture has now become so elitist.

  • Comment number 11.

    I'm still a student and haven't graduated yet. This reminds me of something that I and my university friends discuss quite a lot- what is the best degree mark to get?

    They say that;

    If you get a first, you may not be considered for a job, because you are thought to not have had a good enough social life at university and may not be great at socialising.

    If you get a 2:1 this is "just right", because it shows you can work, but that you aren't a fuddy duddy (excuse the phrase).

    If you get a 2:2 it's supposed to show that you can do the work, haven't, and subsequently haven't gotten a 2:1- you might get considered if you're lucky.

    And if you get a third? We never really discussed that option...

    This is an issue which a lot of undergrads are worried about, I can assure you.

  • Comment number 12.

    There is nothing wrong with employers selecting from the best, since this is often indicative of the personality traits of the person they wish to hire (hard working, self motivated, etc). Time at University is time taken to expand your horizons, and take every opportunity it offers. The help and support available from the staff and student body is, in most cases, excellent. If students take responsibility for themselves (as the young adults they are), there is no reason they cannot achieve a 2:1 or above.

    If they have been ‘renting beer’, or not attending all elements of the course for three years and fail to achieve their goals, it’s time to take responsibility. It is not blame employers for wanting the best during a time of recession.

  • Comment number 13.

    Its not the jobs that are not there its the quality of the graduates thats the problem we go through them so fast you don't even get to know some of their names most are very good at writing a paper but hopeless at common sense tasks. They are told by the goverment that just because they have a degree they are special and they believe it and most are just not very good, the good ones will always find good jobs.

  • Comment number 14.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 15.

    Well it's tough, but then what do you expect when the country is coming out of the recession, and we have as a country increased the number of graduates.
    I have to say I deplore the grade inflation which seems to have taken place in university degrees, which means you now need to get a 2.1. I read somewhere that nowadays more than two thirds of degree awards are 2.1. When I got my degree in 1981 I was happy with a 2.11 as very few got a first or 2.1. On my course there were 12 of us, one got a 2.1, one got a third and the rest got 2.11's. Students have not got more intelligent or work harder than I did 30 years ago, the simple explanation for the grade inflation is that university are competing for students and have to be run as businesses and therefore need to offer better grades to attract students and the funds that come with them. Students are less likely to go to a university that gives lower graded degrees, so especially at the less reputable universities they need to give higher graded degrees.

  • Comment number 16.

    1. At 10:23am on 06 Jul 2010, Mustafa Yorumcu wrote: "As someone with both university lecturer and industry experience, I would probably not hire a graduate with a grade below 2:1. Achieving a 2:2 is too easy to indicate that the graduate is an intelligent and diligent candidate."

    Not matter what the subject? You'd hire a 2:1 in Media Studies over a 2:2 in Physics?

  • Comment number 17.

    As a trained engineer who has worked with recent graduates, it is painfully obvious that though they may have a degree they have few job skills, very few have ever worked other than in a university bar.

    A the degree is an aid to getting a job, it is not an Open Sesame to success, people move up the management tree by gaining skills and experience, and that - quite simply - takes years of effort.

  • Comment number 18.

    Employers selecting on academic achievment, it's not like you ever heard of people being dumped out of the pile because they have relivent experience in the field but have no degree .. oh hang on yes you do!

    Trouble with everyone having degrees are there is not enough employment to meet all the graduates leading to employers simply selecting the best they can get.

    People said this for years but what we really needed was to pour more public cash down the drain so that people who didn't work as hard as they should can have an excuse why that 2:2 in the history of knitting is not getting them a job!

  • Comment number 19.

    What we need to do is to invest more money on post-education training to show children that there is a viable alternative to University education. At the school I went to everyone was expected to attend university because it reflected well on the school. They didn't care whether you did a mickey-mouse degree or what qualification you left uni with so long as you made their stats look good. Anyone who chose the non-University option was more or less abandoned and given little advice on what steps they could take next.

    We need to identify these students who are likely to finish university with a 2:2 or below and encourage them to look at other options. Equally we need to reduce the number of University places to a)encourage greater competition for places and makes sure only the brightest go to university b)reduce pressure on graduate jobs at a time when the market doesn't have jobs to spare.

  • Comment number 20.

    non-subjects, dumbed down education, thick children, feral yooves, trendy lefty lectures, don't know they are born, broken Britain, we're going to end up exactly like Somalia.

    Social engineering, Liberal conspiracy, doomed generation, I hate children anyway. Multicultural hell hole.

    Did I miss anything out?

  • Comment number 21.

    I finished my PhD in 2008 and since that time have been applying for permanent positions as a university lecturer. On average there have been in the region of 100-120 applicants per post for the past 12 months, many from the US and Europe. With the budget being scaled back for the education sector it is likely that things will get even worse. So, consider this: 1 BA hons (3 years), two Masters degrees (2 years), PhD (4 years), 2 x Post-Doc positions (2 years): Total time in education: 11 years. Employment prospects: I'm hopeful but it's likely to get worse for everyone else. (Don't ask about the cost. Emotionally and financially disastrous). Moral of the story: I should have trained to be a plumber.

  • Comment number 22.

    Why is this a surprise. We are in recession so jobs are scarce just like it was in the early 1980s but when we are out of recession the situation will return to normal. Stop causing a panic.

  • Comment number 23.

    Nope.

    There's a market and when supply swamps it the tules tighten. Simply, there are too many graddies around at this time. Nice that they help prune the jobless figures while in uni but when demand falls they join the jobless or take employment that does not need a degree.

  • Comment number 24.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 25.

    6. At 10:49am on 06 Jul 2010, grainsofsand wrote:
    Yes British Graduates are under Intense competition from millions of immigrants brought into the country - that's one of the reasons they can't get jobs

    ----

    BINGO!

  • Comment number 26.

    Well firstly there's so many graduates now that it's hardly surprising it's more difficult.
    Secondly, these things ebb & flow with population & economy. If there's more people applying for less positions, then it's going to be harder isn't it?

    I recall back in the early 80s when students needed 4 'A's at 'A' level to get near a top university, and needed a first to get anything like a decent job, because of the population bulge. I recall applying for the BBC back then, and there were 22,000 applicants! I made the last 700 of which I was immensely proud.

  • Comment number 27.

    I have no doubt it is more difficult in the current economic circumstances, but firstly we should look at the type of degrees that are not required by industry and commerce before making judgements. The main problem is that many of the degrees are for non and useless subjects from rinky dink universities. The Coalition should turn these old Polys back to their roots and allow the local population to use them to get degrees and qualifications by attending night classes, etc.

  • Comment number 28.

    In reply to Mustafa...... the percentage of students gaining 2:1s and 1sts has increased year on year in recent years, and phenomenally since the 70s and 80s. In the year I did my degree, at one of the Russell Universities in 1982, only one person out of 150 achieved a 1st in my subject, 10 received a 2:1, the majority received a 2:2 and a few only managed a third with some failing. On that basis, you would have had a limited field from which to choose your applicants. These days, just as with A Levels, there is rapid grade inflation, opportunities to re-submit coursework and polytechnics have all become Universities and the number of students has also increased significantly. A degree should not be the main criteria for employing someone. Experience, common sense, business acumen, other training, and personality should also count.

  • Comment number 29.

    Firstly this is a case of lies, damn lies and statistics. There is not 1 job per 70 graduates. Every job vacancy gets 70+ applications but graduates apply for more than 1 job. I applied for about 80 before I got my first graduate position and being honest I was pushing my luck with 20-30 of those jobs but thought they were at least worth the price of a 1st class stamp to send my CV in.

    Secondly the degree class is only 1 measure of a candidates suitability and is only meaningful when awarded by the top tier universities.... certain universities that I won't name award first class degress to half their students. The most important thing on your CV is your work experience and your references. If you have done summer work in the industry you want to work in and have a great reference from someone in that field saying you were damn good at it then it proves far more than your degree class.

  • Comment number 30.

    6. At 10:49am on 06 Jul 2010, grainsofsand wrote:
    Yes British Graduates are under Intense competition from millions of immigrants brought into the country - that's one of the reasons they can't get jobs

    And these millions of immigrants all have 2:1's do they? Given your comments about how 1 extra was 'racist' yesterday it seems you don't even like non-white Brits either.

  • Comment number 31.

    The university degree grading system is essentially an "in house" system for determining those individuals who would be suitable to proceed in the university environment as a researcher (a 2.1 or a 1), and those who are not (2.2 and 3).
    That external employers are using this system to reduce their applicant short-lists is perfectly understandable - with so many candidates after each job any easy way of shortening the list without having to plough through all of the c.v.'s is welcome. However, given the specificity of the grading system I don't think it is fully applicable to external employers and they are potentially throwing out lots of perfectly capable candidates.
    Unfortunately, the probable outcome of this, if it becomes persistant, will be pressure on the universities for grade-inflation as seen in schools with A-levels, and soon everyone will leave uni with a 2.1

  • Comment number 32.

    I am a student who has recently finished a degree course and I have received a 2:2 grade. At the moment, I'm not too worried about my grade narrowing my employment options as the jobs I'm applying for are a very specific field (archivist/records manager) and I know that it is less competitive than investment baking or media jobs are so I'm hoping that I will be successful in finding something. I am also intending to do a postgraduate qualification in archives/records management although I'm aware most of these do ask for a 2:1 but that will not deter me from applying as I may be offered a place on a course due to other attributes.

    I believe that the degree classification you receive should only form part of the requirements that employers are looking for. Having a 1st from Oxford is all fine and dandy but if you prove to be unable to do the job at the level expected of you, then it all becomes moot. Experience of working in the field you have applied for should be just as important as the grade you have achieved during your studies and I think the employers that are throwing applications straight in the bin just because an applicant has a 2:2 are being incredibly short sighted. Yes, they may be receiving more applications than they can handle but screening applications by dismissing those with 2:2 degrees is not an effective way of doing this! What if the applicant only just missed out on a 2:1 and has transcript results to prove this? What if the applicant can speak more than one language or has built up an impressive resume working for a variety of well-known organisations on a paid or voluntary basis while the so-called superior 1st or 2:1 applicant has none of those qualities?

    Employers really need to think about how to give each applicant the fairest possible chance in their application and they will not be doing that if they ignore anyone who did not achieve a 2:1 degree.

  • Comment number 33.


    What?! You mean the 3rd I got in Cross Feminist Gender Issues and Political Correct combined Media Studies Honours Degree is of no use??

    This is racist and/or sexist! Typical Daily Mail readers' attitude to EDUKAYSHUN.

  • Comment number 34.

    In a recession employers always have the upper hand and they exploit the situation ruthlessly,its called capitalism or the free market and I bet its also at lower wages. However,what goes around comes around and I am old enough to remember previous recessions where some of our best minds with 2-1 left the UK for big money in the US(the brain drain) leaving a big gaping hole for suitable graduates in industry. In the past we have hoovered up "foreign"graduates to fill the void but that seems to now be one of the government big ideas for cutting along with anything and everything. My advice to all UK graduates is just wait because the way this government is going it will be all change in less than a year.When that happens all graduates will be in demand regardless of what they ended up with.

  • Comment number 35.

    Why do we have so many people with degrees? I should probably have a degree to do my job, however, some of the grads which are employed can't be trusted to tie their shoelaces safely - yet they think they are the best thing in the world! We could halve the number of degrees issued, which will reduce this constant whinging about student loans (which, I'll put money on, have funded the social side of things rather than books etc) and avoiding looking for work for 3 years. No s*** Sherlock - you've avoided work from ages 19-22, gone out most evenings, lived on your own or away from parents, had some of the best years of your life, but you don't think you should pay any of it back?! Wake up...

    And no, I'm not a bitter non-graduate - within 3 years of starting work, I had gained experience equivalent to degree level, and with the 3 years experience, can command a wage higher than newly qualified graduates. Scary how so many people (my parents included) consider an education without a degree a "failure".

  • Comment number 36.

    I hold my head in my hands in despair when a graduate with a "first" tells me at a job interview that she wants to be a/an "xxxxx" because the professional designated letters which she would obtain would look good after her name.

  • Comment number 37.

    #7 "The situation is being made worse by the ideological attack on public service mounted by the UK government. An opportunity is being lost to recruit able young people to do socially useful jobs such as teaching, social work etc., without the usual overpowering competition for recruits from socially useless private jobs like manning trading rooms in the City."

    Its the income tax raised from those working in 'useless private jobs' that pays the wages of the teachers and social workers.

  • Comment number 38.

    I graduated from university in 2002 and pretty much every job I have applied for asks for a minimum of a 2:1. I don't mind that too much since they have a large number of candidates to choose from. What I do mind is the countless employers who specify which university you must have come from to apply for a job. I have seen many job adverts that say "red brick graduates only" or "you must have come from the top 5 universities".

  • Comment number 39.

    Funny isnt' it?
    We abolished Grammar Schools because we do not like the idea of selection by ability.
    But then it turns out that companies choose employees on the basis of ......selection by ability !!!
    Perhaps companies should select candidates on the basis of where they live or whether they are disadvantaged, or from poor homes, or whether they are in care, or by lottery. Sounds crazy. But that's how schools are expected to select their pupils.

    My point is that we have an awful lot of costly state intervention to make things are "fair" and "equal" as children grow up (and for adults too) yet it turns out that life isn't fair and isn't equal. But where and when do we prepare our children and young people for this harsh reality, given that for example many schools abandoned competitive sport so as not to offend those that would lose?

    I feel gutted for those graduates who were 'sold' the benefits of higher education, have amassed huge debts, and now have limited job opportunities. The previous government who pulled this con trick should hang their heads in shame.

  • Comment number 40.

    This was an inevitable outcome, of the last government's social engineering policy.

    We reap what we sow.

    To blame the current government and immigration (some posts today) is just churlish.

    Personally I have a 3rd in Physics (gained via the OU) and it has not proved to be a barrier, as I have demonstrated through experience my talents.

    Grade inflation has devalued the current degree system, much like A-levels, so when recruiting I use it purely as a starting point of any interview.

    A clever and astute potential employer will take the time to sift properly, not be lazy and use arbitrary goal posts, so graduates should take the time to explain their experiences and there relevance to the position they are applying for.

  • Comment number 41.

    1. At 10:23am on 06 Jul 2010, Mustafa Yorumcu wrote:

    It's all relative isn't it.

    As someone with both university lecturer and industry experience, I would probably not hire a graduate with a grade below 2:1. Achieving a 2:2 is too easy to indicate that the graduate is an intelligent and diligent candidate.


    It's all too easy to make that mistake into thinking the grade band makes the difference, when it's the profile that counts. A 2.2 in computing with an abundance of voluntary experience and/or solid project work would mean a vast more to me than A 2.1 in urban dance with no attempts industrial experience. With your personal experience, I'd have thought you to know this!

  • Comment number 42.

    So far as I'm concerned, any job done by a graduate is a graduate job. Spending three or four years at uni should not entitle you to anything - or, indeed, give you a sense of entitlement. Learning does not equate to knowledge, ability, intelligence, adaptability, personality or potential.

  • Comment number 43.

    Employers that say, "We only hire people with a 2:1" are simply bargaining. Should they get a 2:2 who looks capable of the specific job on offer, then they can say, "We'd like to offer you the job but at a lower rate."

    The truth for most "graduate" jobs is that they can be carried out by people who get a third. This is no reflection on Graduates but on the quality of Jobs on offer. Why would you need a 2:1 to work in a fast food outlet if the first job you get is serving and you are obliged to work up to management over a number of years. The point there would be that you are progressing on experience not academic excellence. This is the same for a large number of jobs.


    The nonsense Business has been spouting for decades, about making education more relevant to business, is a reflection of this. It is all just bargaining. Graduate employers ask for a postgraduate qualification and many businesses have "internships" quite simply as a way of filtering applicants. The entire situation is unfair, unreasonable and transforms education into the longest interview process ever.

    A "Recession", real or imagined, is always a good way of pushing down costs. Given the amount of debt that Graduates are expected to carry in order to graduate(which amounts to a net investment: a business would expect a decent return from an investment) then there is an argument for a minimum graduate salary. Which would be the salary that pays back the student loans, even if the graduate only has a third. In the same way that businesses cannot afford to sell below cost, nor can graduates. Just like employers like to tell graduates: start acting like you are in the real world...

  • Comment number 44.

    I have a masters degree in archaeology which is about as useful as my Latin GCSE (which I nearly failed) forget the importance of the grade - the right subject is worth far more (and experience).

    Every year for the past three I have applied for dozens of jobs and not had a single interview.

  • Comment number 45.

    In IT you need both experience and the degree to get considered for an interview most of the time. A lot of my friends spent around a year looking for any remotely IT related work here and in their home countries.

    I was lucky and had some work experience by working for free at a local small software business. I still struggled to get interviews but it took very few interviews to get employed.

    Unlike most graduates looking for graduate jobs (and so huge competition) with very nice starting salaries, I targetted small businesses who would give me more responsibility and more of the work I enjoy doing. As a result I have only recently reached a salary of a graduate job but I have never been a 'tea boy' and I enjoy what I do.

    I am also not restricted to the strict practices of large companies which makes my work more fun.

  • Comment number 46.

    As usual, the simplicity of the question belies the complexity of the underlying issues.
    The previous government decided that 50% of the population should go to university and get a degree. Furthermore, they should pay for the privilege as there was no way the tertiary education bill for this quantity of people could be funded through the public purse. Sadly, their inability to understand even the most basic principles of market economics meant that they failed to see that oversupply of any commodity results in a fall in value. Sadly, the commodity in this case is people.
    It was inevitable that by creating more universities, many offering courses that have little or no academic gravitas, and are really no more than vocational, there would be a glut of graduates with little or no hope of achieving the promises of a better paid job. We will now be left with graduates unable to achieve the false promises of the previous government, who may well be unable ever to pay back tuition fees, thus landing the tax payer with yet another bill to settle.
    Our higher education system needs a radical shake-up (indeed, one could say the same for the entire education system!). I would propose that we seek to re-instate academic excellence as the criteria for university entrance, and reduce the nunmber of university places such that thre is room for only the top 10 to 15% of school leavers. The courses should be publicly funded as these graduates will be able to achieve their higher earnings potential and thus repay the country for their education through the normal tax system.
    It is quite clear that we need to continue to develop skill and ability at the higest levels to enable us to create and manufacture products for the future. As a country, we have a reputation for innovation and design, and we must preserve and build on this by making sure that the education system, from start to finish, supports this aim. Only by this means will we be able to build a stable and prosperous country that does not depend on the shifting sands of the so called service industries. After all, if we have no manufacturing left in this country to service, what needs are there for a sevice industry? As someone who has been involved in manufacturing for most of my working life, I am appalled at the rumours of cuts in university places for engineering. This is something that we must seek to reverse.
    My proposal does imply that many of the newer universities might struggle to maintain their raison d'etre. However, we will still need well-educated and capable people with vocational skills; we will still need places where students can go to get high quality vocational training so that the skills it seems we can only fill by immigration get filled using our own home-grown labour.

  • Comment number 47.

    21. At 11:07am on 06 Jul 2010, quickafix wrote:

    I finished my PhD in 2008 and since that time have been applying for permanent positions as a university lecturer. On average there have been in the region of 100-120 applicants per post for the past 12 months, many from the US and Europe. With the budget being scaled back for the education sector it is likely that things will get even worse. So, consider this: 1 BA hons (3 years), two Masters degrees (2 years), PhD (4 years), 2 x Post-Doc positions (2 years): Total time in education: 11 years. Employment prospects: I'm hopeful but it's likely to get worse for everyone else. (Don't ask about the cost. Emotionally and financially disastrous). Moral of the story: I should have trained to be a plumber.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    I'm in the same position (except without the Masters). I'm re-training to be a teacher (I think that's where the increase in people wanting to be science teachers has come from. Is it all a plot? Reduce funding to HE, and gain lots of teachers with PhDs, Masters, etc?). Good luck with your job hunt.

  • Comment number 48.

    Too many graduates + too few jobs = raising the bar.

    Before long it will be like the US, where a second degree (Maters etc) is required, if it isn't already.

    It would save a lot of bother if degrees were scrapped and only Masters and above offered. Oh, wait a minute, that would mean only 5 to 10% of people would qualify - that sounds familiar, isn't that what degrees used to be all about?

    So, the net effect of getting all the extra people into University and lumbering them with huge debt has been......... Nil. Nothing. A waste of time and money, and an exercise if futility. Well done everyone for getting graduates hopes up and then dashing them.

    And the next bright idea is........

  • Comment number 49.

    As someone who has recruited many times over the last twenty years I don't think a degree of any grade really means a lot. I might be interested in good degrees from the best Universities as a mark of the application of intelligence and I would be interested in a particular qualification where the role demanded it. Other than that I would count experience as equal to any generic degree from the vast selection of new Universities that have appeared. You set a grade as a way of limiting the pool of CV's but you don't stick to that if someone stands out in some other way. Why should you?

    NuLab's 50% policy combined with the global mass of degree qualified people has for me rendered the degree fairly meaningless or at least a fact that does not actually allow me to make any differentiation between candidates and therefore barely relevant to the process. Look to your specific skills and to other activities. What makes you stand out. Why would I interview you and not the next CV in the pile?

  • Comment number 50.


    polcirkel wrote:

    As a trained engineer who has worked with recent graduates, it is painfully obvious that though they may have a degree they have few job skills, very few have ever worked other than in a university bar.

    A the degree is an aid to getting a job, it is not an Open Sesame to success, people move up the management tree by gaining skills and experience, and that - quite simply - takes years of effort


    Graduates are NOT suposed to be trained for a job. A degree is suposed to merely show the gradate can operate at a given level in some area of endevour. Employers should provide the training through Graduate Training upon commencement of the first job.

  • Comment number 51.

    What, exactly, is a "Graduate Job"? during the past few decades, this hitherto meaningless term was never part of the vocabulory applicable to recruitment, training, an indication of skill levels or performance potential. "We only recruit Graduates with a degree at 2.1 or First Class Honours" level seems like a policy of the from the Hyacinth Bucket school of managemnent. After spending many years in management/rectuitment/selection assessment in the armed forces and industry; I have been amazed at the total ignorance of many employers about our education system and what the achievemnt of a degree means or signifies. Similarly,I have been horrified to see "Milk round first interview screeners" applying "Intelligence" and "Personality" tests and then displaying remarkable lack of understanding of the statistices involved in interpreting results.
    Outside the Law and Medicine There are very few, if any, jobs for which future success and performance can be measured by profiling tests and/or a University degree. Young people have been cruelly deceived and misled by Labour's Social mobility experimenting and we now see the heart-breaking consequences for thjose now seeking employment....most will end upo working alongside people of their age who have 4/5 year's work experience and the equivalent lead on the promotion ladder.

  • Comment number 52.

    Systems of examination & testing show that given the right input, most people are capable of achieving academic results their parents wouldn't have dreamed of. But academic grades do not translate into jobs.
    Many graduates end up in jobs below those who left school at 16.
    Now that top results are routine, perhaps it is time to make economies by reducing access to higher education.
    There is no need whatever of high academic qualifications for many manual, clerical & sales jobs. Practical experience is of greater value and will show far better than any degree who is suitable for leadership in industry. But how can youngsters get practical experience when stuck in education wasting their time, their teachers' time and the country's resources on irrelevant paper qualifications?
    We have been done a huge disservice by the paper qualifications industry.
    Rather than spending ever more on keeping youngsters in more & more education, it is time we released them into the world of work so that they can earn their own living, pay taxes and begin to show by practical application whether they are worth employing or whether they should return to complete their education. For this reason I would propose the following:
    1) Higher education to be restricted to those who have spent a minimum of 1 year & preferably 3 years working. All HE institutions' graduate employment in the 12 months after graduation to be published in national league tables.
    2) 'A' levels to remain the academic benchmark for HE entry or the sponsorship of an employer for whom the individual has worked for at least 3 years.
    3) GCSEs to remain, but 2 year coursework requirements to be replaced by the option of examinations for those who choose to study after leaving school.
    4) School leaving age to revert to 14 so that only those that choose to study may do so - unimpeded by those who would otherwise be wasting time.
    5) Return to education up to GCSE standard to be free to anyone up to the age of 50.
    6) No state benefits of any kind to be payable to anybody not registered as disabled who has not completed at least 5 years full-time work.
    Perhaps then the education & examination system will become an effective grading & filtering tool for both society and employment at far less cost both in terms of money and lives wasted than it is today.

  • Comment number 53.

    Yes it is too tough and it is getting worse.

    The tories are destroying the lives of many young people, they should be increasing the number of jobs out there not cutting them.

  • Comment number 54.

    I graduated in 2003 with a 2:2 in a science degree, I went back to Uni to get postgrad qualifications but am still struggling to find a permanent job, Ive now been contracting for 3 years since leaving Uni. I cant see it getting any easier even with less science graduates now.

  • Comment number 55.

    Isn't this what you get when you educate a far higher proportion of young adults to tertiary level than the economy needs in order to keep them off the job market for a couple of years or so very largely at their own (or their parents) expense. There is probably no graduate level future available for 50% of those that start degree courses today.

    And isn't this what happens with rampant grade inflation so that a first or 2i just doesn't mean what it used to and below that level used to mean something but now means largely that you've failed to meet your expectations. Grade inflation robs potential employers of the means to use academic achievement as a means of separating good from mediocre. Surely there isn't anyone that believes that a 2i is worth what it was worth a generation or so ago, or that it signifies that today's students are magically more intelligent, or that lecturers cram as much as they possibly can into a 40 hour week?


    But frankly the reaction of employers is just as scary. As well as the inevitable variations in graduate recruitment levels is there any such thing as long term any more?), the methods used to identify potentially good candidates are increasingly idle, involving too much subcontracting to third parties and too much "complete this online survey and we'll let you know. " The good thing about an interview is that you get the opportunity to explain when you answer might challenge the preconceptions of the interviewers. The online surveys offer no such rewards for imagination and will cut you out ruthlessly with the wrong choice of a word. The process is increasingly lazy and incompetent and given grade inflation too, close to randomising.

    How come employers get the right to whinge about graduate calibre when its likely that they're recruiting the wrong ones?

    The entire process is rotten from beginning to end and needs changing.

  • Comment number 56.

    #19 " We need to identify these students who are likely to finish university with a 2:2 or below and encourage them to look at other options. Equally we need to reduce the number of University places to a)encourage greater competition for places and makes sure only the brightest go to university b)reduce pressure on graduate jobs at a time when the market doesn't have jobs to spare. "

    At least three problems there: firstly if you reduce the number of graduates you will reduce the pressure on graduate jobs..... but what about the non-graduate jobs? Where do they spring from? At least by sending kids to university now you defer the problem of finding them employment for 3 years.

    Secondly courses that used to be taught mostly in vocational form are now taught in universities (nursing for instance). Unless you can whistle up a load more apprenticeship / in job training schemes your proposal will simply mean a shortage of nurses/electrical engineers/precision mechanics etc. For instance you probably don't need a BEng to maintain aircraft engines, but Easyjet sponsor such a degree at Luton university and it DOES turn out very good aircraft engine mechanics. Axe that course and you've got to replace it with a similar scheme.

    Thirdly most university teaching staff only teach for some of their time. Most of their work is research and its British university research depts that have come up with some of the worlds greatest inventions (my own university Nottingham invented the MMR scanner for instance). Its the income from teaching students (especially foreign students who pay massively inflated fees) that subsidise the wages of many university support staff. Cut student numbers and you reduce the number of good university posts we already have.

  • Comment number 57.

    This whole issue is not only about a 2:1 degree - it's about what the student did before and during university?

    It's also about the university, the student's background their 'attitude' and even their gender?

    Major employers in UK, and internationally, always 'scout' certain universities with specialised degree courses. However, in medicine - there are some graduate doctors who would make better engineers; incisive researchers, priests or shouldn't be doctors at all, but pressure from family or prestige is hard to resist?

    The system of admission has raised the academic level, despite many 'bogus' reports. The difficulty is that if a potential student has never taken a part-time job or worked in a voluntary organisation yet has great 'A' levels - that young person may be ill-equipped for uni'. Conversely, a student who has worked and has a broad spectrum of sport, hobbies or volunteering and good social skills, but marginal 'A' levels may be rejected.

    To conclude, this invariably leads to an unhealthy soup and 'incestuous' climate in our universities?

  • Comment number 58.

    Most of my eldest son's friends who graduated in 2007/8 (really bad timing!) are without jobs and those in jobs are not graduate level ones. My second son has just graduated and is going to do a masters.

    However, the idea that a 2:1 is a pre-req takes littel account of the institution or other activities. Someone who gets a 2:2 from Oxford or Cambridge but ran student societies or was active in sports should be more employable than someone with a First from (say) Luton. However, many employers' HR departments do not make such distinctions and treat an Oxford 2:1 the same as a Luton 2:1.

  • Comment number 59.

    25. At 11:11am on 06 Jul 2010, whiler wrote:
    6. At 10:49am on 06 Jul 2010, grainsofsand wrote:
    Yes British Graduates are under Intense competition from millions of immigrants brought into the country - that's one of the reasons they can't get jobs

    ----

    BINGO!

    ........................................................

    Complete rubbish. We don't care where the graduates come from we try to employ the best for the job if it means employing a graduate from another EU country or from India or africa who does not turn up a with a worthless media studies degree then they will get the job. If uk graduates want to compete with overseas graduates spend less time in bars and more time working and come out with a good degree,.

  • Comment number 60.

    I recently came out of university with a 2:2 and although I worked hard I was also a single mother and had to work to support us. It was fine and I enjoyed the challenge but I had other responsibilites as well as my degree at the time.

    I think it would be unfair to dismiss graduates with 2:2 results as I don't think it really means anything. You can apply yourself as well as the next person but sometimes individual circumstances can mean you don't achieve as high a mark as someone who has no other responsibilities except to get a degree. I now work full time as a project manager and fortunately my employer will always look for someone with a degree of any grade.

  • Comment number 61.

    Recruiters need to realise that it is not always in their best interests to recruit the brightest and most ambitious people. Was the banking crisis created by 2:2 graduates? I doubt it.

  • Comment number 62.

    Some posters on this site seem to doubt the link between the very heavy immigration that this country is experiencing and the lack of Jobs. Yet if you want to create jobs in the UK for British people removing surplus workers, i.e. immigrants, is a sure way to free up jobs for British people. The only people who have an interest in having vast pools of Labour are the employers who can pick and choose the best employees at low wages. It is blindingly obvious that if you remove 2-3 million immigrant workers from the labour force it will mean that British people have a far better chance of getting a job.

    Incidentally I think employers have always wanted a 2:1 for the best graduate jobs – that’s no new thing.

  • Comment number 63.

    all the graduates that i have come across (i lived in oxford for 28 yrs)may be intelligent but they had no common sense and i wouldnt trust most of them to punch a bus ticket

  • Comment number 64.

    There is no substitute for experience. University for a lot of people is an excuse to not get a job, and to have a party for a few years on borrowed money. For those who do use it wisely, they reap the rewards, they always have and always will.

  • Comment number 65.

    The work experience is as important, if not more so than the degree result, I got a 1st so thankfully this sort of discrimination has not affected me (or only affected me in a positive way), but even so, I was told that the reason I was hired was because of my work experience.

    In general I think only reviewing CVs with 2.1s or above can lead to good candidates being missed (some of the best people in my intake had 2.2s) but it is a reasonable rule of thumb and I don't think I would employ someone with a 3rd unless they had lots of extra curricular activities to show they made good use of their university time.

    In generall, I think that the more worrying trend is that a lot of the first sorting of CVs is now automated, with a computer searching for key words. All CVs should be reviewed by a person with a good knowledge of the field for which they are recruiting

  • Comment number 66.

    "7. At 10:49am on 06 Jul 2010, stanblogger wrote:
    If those leaving University with less than a 2.1 degree cannot get the sort of job they expected, they will displace school leavers and others lower down the scale who in turn displace those lower still, leaving those at the bottom no chance at all. This is the most worrying consequence of the recession and will permanently blight the lives of many young people, as the recessions in the 30s, 80s and 90s did."

    --------------------

    That's not really true. It's no different to those with A-levels displacing those who are lower, and those with O-levels displacing those lower still.
    The ones at the bottom with next to no qualifications, will be there regardless of whether others have degrees or not.

  • Comment number 67.

    6. At 10:49am on 06 Jul 2010, grainsofsand wrote:

    Yes British Graduates are under Intense competition from millions of immigrants brought into the country - that's one of the reasons they can't get jobs


    Who brought them here? Did they not come of their own free will??

  • Comment number 68.

    This is really nothing new. The top recruiters have always only really looked at candidates with a 2:1 degree or better. As for there being an average of 70 graduates applying for each vacancy... I wish it was as few as that when I went for my first job!

    The fact is there are too many graduates who have wasted important years studying pointless degrees. I wouldn't give someone with a degree in sub aqua basket weaving a job!! Come on a degree is not for everyone and as soon as people realise that the better.

  • Comment number 69.

    No 6, your commnt is complete rubbish, graduates do not face competition from the people you mention.

    The plain simple fact is, there are too many graduates, exams are not rigorous enough and the marking system is a joke. All thanks to Labour.

  • Comment number 70.

    It is my experience that many students simply drift into degree courses rather than apply themselves to what they know will culminate in a good chance of a job.

    For some it is a case of going to Uni for the experience - so after a couple of years they are no closer to getting employment than before they went.

    If a student wants to get the most out of their education their aims must be set high - Uni should not be a holiday camp with a boozy social lifestyle coming as a bonus.

    It matters not which degree you obtain - it is your approach and willingness to work that will find you a job.

  • Comment number 71.

    At least a 2:2 can still get you a job at a pizza takeaway.

    If graduates are so clever, then why dont more of them start up their own businesses instead of like so many others being totally reliant on a few to provide jobs.

    The next 2 to 3 years will be the GREATEST opportunity for more than a decade for actually starting business.

    To start when the market is flat bottom- the ONLY way is up, unless you fail anyway due to wrong decisions, to start when the market has peaked, generally leaves little room for progress, unless a unique business.

    NOW is the time, there are SOOOO many opportunitys out there. EVERY BUSINESS and PUBLIC service will be looking to improve and cut costs, if you can see ways of doing things better for less money, then you are basically your own walking gold mine if you can implement ideas into practice.

    Even starting up local CO-OPERATIVES to provide a range of services, whether it is carework, a more competitive employment agency, or providing services to businesses or councils.


    JUST WAKE UP and look to how you can utilise your OWN skills and abilitys for yourself or teamed up with others!

    TRY thinking outside your box, in many instances a swarm is far far better than an individual. Get together 10/20/30 graduates or others and have ideas/suggestions for businesses, to help one another etc. Many businesses are basically a swarm, so are armys, so is the civil service, so is government. A group has MUCH MUCH MORE brain & ECONOMIC power than most individuals. Utilise your abilitys. On paper, a 2:1 may look better but a 2:2 with right attitude is just as worthy a deployable weapon of prospective gain/achievement.

  • Comment number 72.

    This isn't a new thing at all. When I graduated way back in the day when not everyone and their dog had to have a degree, we had to have a 2:1 to get onto either a further degree course, Masters, PhD etc, or to get onto a Milkround job. I guess it's a quiet week for news...

  • Comment number 73.

    Dorothy has just landed a plumb job emptying bins at York Racecourse. She is educated to Masters Degree level but had to postpone her PhD because we ran out of money to fund it. Oh: and she's brilliant at everything she does. At the same time I know many people in jobs where a degree qualification is prerequisite and yet they seem to have no capability of carrying out even the simplest of tasks. Why?

  • Comment number 74.

    More graduates means a changing market. A 2/1 means nothing if you lack the essential job skills (communication, vision, enterprise, energy, social and emotional intelligence). Equally if you have got these skills with a 2/2 you're more employable, especially in stressful jobs.

  • Comment number 75.

    I have been involved in my company's graduate recruitment process and I can tell you we make no apologies for trying to recruit the very best candidates available in the market. Competition for jobs is stiff and that's the way it should be! Or else how would young people be motivated to work hard? Is the article implying that we should drop standards? In this day and age where developing economies are gainining on us, we have to stand our ground and remain strong in our belief that competition means progress. I was rejected more than 30 times before I got my current job, why should it be different for anyone else?

  • Comment number 76.

    Me and my friend went to school together. I did as I was told and went on to study A-Levels and then went off to Uni. He left school at 16 to train as a boiler maker.

    Ten years later, he is a time-served tradesman earning very good money, owns his own 3-bed home with a good sized garden. Unfortunately, my degree from the University of Abertay in Computer Games Technology has left employers somewhat underwhelmed and I am scraping out a meager salary doing low level IT work, renting a tiny bungalow and wondering where my life went wrong.

    Micky Mouse degrees from Micky Mouse institutions ruin peoples lives. They promise success and provide none.

    We need fewer graduates in the right subjects from real institutions.

  • Comment number 77.

    In the last 30 years we have gone completely over the top with degrees.

    Many, many, many jobs where a degree is insisted on don't require degree knowledge to do the job. All the require is good on the job training.

    To become a trainee manager in a bank you need a degree - and yet, years ago when you didn't have computers to do the hard work for you, a degree was unnecessary - you just needed to train within the company.

    To become a recording engineer, you study for a degree (my own profession). And yet, once you start in a studio, you will be retrained by all the older staff - NONE of whom have degrees. Most older, highly respected Sound Engineers in studios started as tea-boys and girls with a couple of O-Levels.

    Some jobs must have degrees - science, teaching, specialist subjects such as English or History, and so on.

    For the rest, all the degree does is delay by 3 years people starting their careers, puts a massive financial strain on the public purse, and is used as a pointless filtering process by lazy employers who cant seem to recognise a potential good worker unless they have a label stuck to them.

    We should tell employers to go back to the time when THEY did the training and THEY paid for the training.

    At the rate we are going, you will need a degree to be a hamburger flipper.

    If Banks took employees on at 16 and didn't worry about certificates, then ANY employee might have the chance to rise through the ranks and become management. Rather than this silly modern approach where you ignore all your staff who haven't got a degree - even if they are brilliant. In the old days, the big banks and building societies sometimes offered successful staff the chance to do a degree later, sponsored by the company. And that is a fantastic way of building a great workforce and a close knit efficient company.

    You get management and staff that really understand the company, want to stay and have a stake in it being successful.

    And you don't need a degree to work that one out.

  • Comment number 78.

    I don't know why this is so shocking. The company I work for has had a minimum 2.1 policy for certain graduate jobs for over a decade. We get hundreds of applications for every job, however, sometimes we only employ a few, maybe 5, even though we could take on 4 times that amount. WHY??? The calibre is not there - standards have definitely deteriorated, there is no tenacity in students these days or 'can do' attitude. A lot of the students believe that they are owed a career and take it for granted. I graduated about 10 years ago from a 'poly', I knew that my 'institution' wouldn't get me through the door for an interview so I ensured I had the following:
    1. I was course rep every year at university
    2. I got the 'best' student placement at the 'best' FTSE 100 company in my year in industry
    3. I ensured I got a 2.1

  • Comment number 79.

    38. At 11:25am on 06 Jul 2010, darren80 wrote:
    I graduated from university in 2002 and pretty much every job I have applied for asks for a minimum of a 2:1. I don't mind that too much since they have a large number of candidates to choose from. What I do mind is the countless employers who specify which university you must have come from to apply for a job. I have seen many job adverts that say "red brick graduates only" or "you must have come from the top 5 universities".

    Why do you object? Do you think a 2:1 from the University of East London is the same as a 2:1 from Oxford? Degrees from certain universities aren't worth the paper they're printed on.

  • Comment number 80.

    #46 " I would propose that we seek to re-instate academic excellence as the criteria for university entrance, and reduce the nunmber of university places such that thre is room for only the top 10 to 15% of school leavers. The courses should be publicly funded as these graduates will be able to achieve their higher earnings potential and thus repay the country for their education through the normal tax system...........As someone who has been involved in manufacturing for most of my working life, I am appalled at the rumours of cuts in university places for engineering. This is something that we must seek to reverse. "

    MAKE YOUR MIND UP!!! You want to cut university admission by 2/3rds.... and then you're concerned that there might be a cut in engineering places. No wonder we're in a mess.

  • Comment number 81.

    Graduates are leaving university with large debts, this puts off many intelligent youngsters. I can't see anything being done to improve this situation and the country is losing talent because bright students who come from poor or even average families are reluctant to take on this debt. The wealthy, Cameron, Clegg et al are not going to change anything, they can pay off their children's expenses without a second thought and if less well off children are discouraged it means there is less competition for university places. Their children will have a much better chance of getting a college place thus keeping the better paid jobs for the already wealthy which is how they like it.

  • Comment number 82.

    This is the inevitable result of the Labour government's aim to get too many graduates. There are too many "dumbed down" degrees and A-Levels are also too easy, so now the market is flooded with graduates and employers struggle to differentiate.

    But to rule out 2:2 graduates is a massive oversight in my opinion, as surely the first selection criteria should be which degree they took and possibly where and when. How can anyone value a 2:1 achieved in Media Studies over a 2:2 gained in Law, for example, especially if that person achieved their law degree many years ago when they were a lot tougher to obtain?

  • Comment number 83.

    A degree is not guarantee of a job. A small number of graduates do have the attitude that it gives them an automatic right to a position. It is just an entry requirement; a lot of research and effort needs to be put into the application process as well.

  • Comment number 84.

    When we're recruiting, experience is more important than grade.

    Some people may say that you can't get experience until you get a job, but that's simply not true. People have 'spare time'.

    If someone is applying as a 'web designer', I don't care if they got a 1st, a 2:1 or a 2:2 at university (if they got a 3rd then that shows bad self-awareness - they'd have been better not going to university at all - a 3rd is a virtual-fail). I'd rather see that web site they designed for their cousin's cat, or whatever.

    If they're a graduate accountant looking for a job, why aren't they the treasurer for a local voluntary group? If they want to work in catering or hospitality, why aren't they volunteering at the local homeless shelter?

    For graduate or straight-from-school applicants, I actually tend to skip the 'qualifications' parts and skip to the 'work experience' part. I don't expect wondrous acts there - but there has to be something relevant there, or they won't get a second look.

    I don't want an employee who wants to spend his time in bars or playing games or watching TV. I want an employee who WANTS to do the job he's applying for. So much that she/he'd do it even if not being paid for it. Then, they may work hard at it when they are being paid for it, rather than being a dosser.

  • Comment number 85.

    Just because you have a degree doesn't mean that your any good as a worker or as a person, sure we need doctors etc but some of the people I know with degrees are as thick as planks when it comes to doing anything practical. And as for some of these new degrees in "media studys" and "sport" what a waste of time, effort and money. As a nation we should be concentrating our best minds to finding solutions to the coming environmental catastrophe that is fast approaching over the horizon.
    Tell me who is more important to society, a bin man or a media studys graduate?. I think the whole qualification is over rated, so you spent three years reading a load of facts and figures about a something and then write about it, big deal. Today as a telecom's engineer I wired up a phone line to a water plant so the water engineer gets called out if the system fails, neither of us have degrees but the community we live in would be unable to function if it weren't for people like us, providing and maintaining the essential infrastructures that make it all happen.
    Plus HMG has pushed all the young people into higher education as a way of keeping the unemployment figures artificially low which is another reason for the glut of over educated idiots out there.

  • Comment number 86.

    The increase in supply of graduates isn’t in response to an increase in demand for their labour – it is due the previous Labour government using further education as a social engineering tool to achieve “equality”.

    There is now a large surplus of graduates many of whom cannot find graduate entry work. Will Labour’s goal of equality be achieved - when every fast food operative or call centre assistant has a degree?

    The situating will eventually be self correcting as the children of the current crop of graduates shun further education as it is increasingly realised that a degree is no longer a passport to a good income.

    A young man of my acquaintance was the first member of his working class family to go to university where he studied architecture. Unable to find work in this field he supports his family by working as a carpet fitter. He is cynical and bitter about education and discourages his children from putting too much effort into their school work.

    He is the first member of his family to get a degree and will probably be the last - I expect there are many like him and the numbers are rapidly growing.

  • Comment number 87.

    I'm glad to see that there seems to be broad agreement that, obviously, a better degree result means a better candidate. And obviously recruiters for competitive positions need ways to whittle down the applicants.

    Having myself completed my undergraduate degree in Canada, what I don't understand is that employers in this country seem to pay little heed to WHICH university applicants went to. Surely someone who achieved a 2:2 at Cambridge still received a better education and is likely more employable than someone who got a 2:1 at some university that's hardly accredited.

  • Comment number 88.

    What a stupid way to phrase the question. Nobody chooses how tough the job market is.

    If you graduate in a recession then there are not enough jobs. That's not your fault, so don't accept the mean-spirited abuse of people who got jobs in better times. Things will improve eventually and you will have your chance.

    Someone has to get the 2:2's (industry has spent years complaining that Universities give out too many 1sts and 2:1's) but that doesn't make you lazy, stupid or worthless. Most people who have been to University had the ability to get there, worked to get there, worked to stay there and (unlike my generation) will pay a lot more for the privilege.

    If I was graduating today (with my 2:2) I would be applying for all the jobs I could find and preparing myself for a protracted effort. However, I'd also suggest you look at a change of plan. This looks like the start of a long recession and there are more graduates in the pipeline for next year and the year after, so things are going to remain hard. Consider travelling, emigrating, doing long-term charity work, start a band, write a novel. If the country doesn't want you to work right now you might as well think of something positive to do with your life for the next few years.

    Deepest sympathy from the generation started-out in easier times and best of luck!

  • Comment number 89.

    I graduated from Newcastle University in 2008 with a 1st Class Honours degree in Physical Geography, I then went on to study an MSc in Hydraulic Engineering (also at Newcastle University), for which I was awarded a £9,000 scholarship and graduated in September 2009. Since last September I have been working in various temporary jobs not relevant to my field of study. Whilst this has enabled me to support myself, it hasn't helped me to get a job in the water industry.

    I have now been accepted on to an industrially funded PhD at the University of Bristol. Whilst the PhD is a great opportunity, I would sooner have started working in a proper job. Despite having excellent qualifications, plenty or work experience during my time at university and having won a scholarship, I am still unable to get an engineering job, because the majority of employers I've looked at want 2-5 years experience in the industry.

    How are intelligent and well qualified graduates meant to get a foot on the ladder, if there are so few opportunities (even for people who studied worthwhile degrees at good universities)?

  • Comment number 90.

    21. Quickafix - in the 11 years after I left school (with 3 A Levels) I had fought one war, was posted all around the world, gained post-graduate and professional qualifications and held managerial posts for over 5 years. I continued to serve for another 7 years finally leaving as a senior manager and skilled professional. I struggled to get a job when I left the Army even with my experience so I find it difficult to sympathise with the 2:2 and less brigade who have zero life-experience and whose qualifications are often viewed as a bi-product of merely attending university. Those with lesser degrees will have to demonstrate that they have something additional or they will get nowhere. It is an employers market and the product they buy has to be the shiniest available. That is the reality!

  • Comment number 91.

    Define 'graduate job' please...

    Currently hunting for teacher/education management positions, and as teaching is a graduate profession, a degree goes with the territory... and yet the application forms all ask what grades I got for O-levels! (Or is it some perverse form of memory test?) Posts I'm applying for are not ones a new-qualified teacher would be going for, so it's not a case of them being recently-gained qualifications even had I gone straight into teaching instead of spending a goodly time in industry first.

    ... anyway my first degree is a 2:1 :)

  • Comment number 92.

    What a strange question!

    You might just as well ask are there enough jobs for graduates?

    There are not enough jobs for everybody. Unemployment is on the way up especially for younger people - with or without a degree. Why should graduates fare any better than any other person?

    Applicants for jobs have to find a way to stand out. If you look at the numbers given you find out how difficult a task this is.

    Only a third of graduates do not get 2.1. Only a third are immediately filtered out as unsuitable for a job. So of the 69 applicants for a job, the employer is still looking at 46, but, eventually has to reject another 45. How are graduates going to stand out. No sane employer is going to interview all 46, so is going to filter out a lot more people before coming up with the shortlist of graduates to interview. Employers are looking for ways to reject unsuitable candidates as quickly as possible. The applicant has to find a way to make sure it is not them.



  • Comment number 93.

    I work with people who are mostly graduates. I am staggered at the low level of literacy that many of them display in terms of grammar and punctuation. Degrees are too easy to get and courses no longer seem to require basic skills in numeracy and literacy as entry requirements. Governments have lowered standards for GCSEs and A levels and this is the inevitable result. Degrees are increasingly meaningless.

  • Comment number 94.

    15. At 10:58am on 06 Jul 2010, David wrote:

    I read somewhere that nowadays more than two thirds of degree awards are 2.1. When I got my degree in 1981 I was happy with a 2.11 as very few got a first or 2.1."

    This shocked me as well.

    When I got my degree in 1990, out of a course of 73 people, two of us got firsts (the mark needed for a first was 70%, top mark was 70.8%, I got 70.2%), 18 got 2:1, 46 got 2:2 and 7 failed (got 3rds). Those were typical results for ANY degree course at our university at that time.

    Also, remember at that time, the top 15% went to university. So, that means that only the top 4% academically got 2:1 or higher in those days.

    If 2/3rds of graduates get 2:1s nowadays, then degrees have got a lot easier as well. I'll have to remember that when recruiting...
    (Now, it seems that the top 30% of the population get a 2:1 - no wonder graduate recruiters are so picky)

  • Comment number 95.

    To me it is a simple case of supply and demand. Lots of candidates with degrees, I am able to pick the best. Fewer candidate with degrees, I have to lower my requirements

  • Comment number 96.

    jlbirtles wrote: 'Whereas most other companies, I believe, would rip your hand off to have a language speaker join there team, as you can either speak the language or you don't.'

    If your French spelling and grammar are as bad as your English, they fully demonstrate why a 2:2 isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

  • Comment number 97.

    #44. 'I have a masters degree in archaeology which is about as useful as my Latin GCSE (which I nearly failed) forget the importance of the grade - the right subject is worth far more (and experience).

    Every year for the past three I have applied for dozens of jobs and not had a single interview'

    It didn't cross your mind to look at what qualifications your preferred career/employer might require before enlisting at university?

  • Comment number 98.

    This blanket requirement of a 2.1 is ridiculous as it doesn't take into account the university attended or the course taken. A 2.2 at some universities requires far more work than a 1st at others.

  • Comment number 99.

    The country is not drifting towards the double dip recession but hurtling into it. There are not the number of jobs available for the people who need them. Public sector would have provided jobs but less so and private sector to a large extent needs public sector support. There are far too many graduates as well. I predict a catastrophic collapse of the economy thanks to the misguided adoption of the Canadian and Swedish model neither of which are compatible with this chronically over-crowded and latterly under-achieving country.

  • Comment number 100.

    Too many graduates who are less qualified than those who did not go to university and gained experience is the problem.

    Labour thought equality would be gained by sending everyone to university not caring whether they could get better skills elsewhere or whether companies needed it.

    If you want equality start appreciating those who have done apprenticeships equally with those who have done a degree.

    Being degree qualified neither makes you more intelligent or more qualifed than someone who has learned on the job in fact most of the time they are less qualified.

    Thats the social inequality problem, perception.

    Afterall look at the comments on this blog? People really think a degree makes you clever, it doesn't.

 

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