This just in: we’re all doomed. In 2010/2011, the number of graduates in low skilled jobs had tripled since 2006. Those that spend years breaking their hearts over essays, equations, exams and assessments could face employment as a bartender or even, dare we suggest it, a cleaner.
Shocking. Forgive me for being underwhelmed by news which seems to be supposed to strike fear and paranoia into the depths of my battered student soul. These statistics might seem a little concerning, but they don’t really come to me as any huge surprise.
Sally Hunt, of the University and College Union, said that ‘people working hard at university face an incredibly challenging jobs market’, meaning that not all students are going to trundle out of university into a high flying job.
So, not all students are going to stroll into the better paid jobs their degrees supposedly entitle them to. But, then again, let’s face it – not all students are actually ‘working hard’. Suggesting that all graduates are sufficiently qualified for particular careers, in terms of experience, academic success, and personality, is a hugely sweeping assumption. Obviously, the main aim of university is to set students up for higher paid work, but a degree alone simply does not make someone instantly employable.
There seems to be a growing perception of university as a pay-and-you-will-receive product. In the gleaming window of the imaginary ‘Future Shop’, a degree and well-paid job is tagged with the price of £27,000: banks lend us money, we pay the university, and hey presto – here’s our future. Buy your degree, slog your way through, and you’ve bought yourself onto a higher career path. A done deal, or so some might delude themselves.
Without some serious hard work, as well as the drive to get involved in extra-curricular activities other than getting Corped and waking up fully clothed in your mate’s bath tub, students are just as unemployable as those that haven’t splurged thousands of pounds on their education.
So, is it surprising that some graduates don’t go on to high flying jobs and company cars? Simply gaining a degree doesn’t place you in an elite club, providing exclusive access to a desk made of solid gold and a butler to answer your phone.
With the jobs market the way it is, academic success just isn’t enough anymore. While a first-class degree will be a pretty valuable weapon for students stumbling–blinking and defenceless–headfirst into the vicious battle for employment, that alone won’t see them on to victory.
This lazy attitude towards employment, in which some graduates see themselves as entitled to a certain level of work, is probably the very cause that leads some to miss out on the jobs they’re actually qualified for.
We might have paid our hard-earned (borrowed) cash to get onto our courses, but a degree alone is not enough. Money can’t buy you everything: least of all, a decent job.
Read more in our series on graduates’ future