Just 19 percent of graduates thought about their career before starting their university course.
The Milkround Student and Graduate Career Confidence Report, a study of 1,730 students by the graduate recruitment website, found that although the majority of students didn’t consider future job roles before starting their course, once they entered first year this changed dramatically.
Four out of five (79 percent) first year students had considered the job they might want after university, having developed a greater understanding of the options available to them with their prospective qualifications.
Milkround spokesperson Mike Barnard said: “The Milkround Student & Graduate Career Confidence Report was produced to act as a barometer of current thought for how university students and graduates viewed their opportunities in the job market. We’re committed to giving students and graduates career confidence, and this report is a fascinating insight into their current confidence levels and how they view their opportunities to find work.”
The report found that 42 percent of respondents thought that the media had made them believe they wouldn’t be able to find a job after graduating.
Yet the respondents were divided as to how the media had influenced their motivation to get a job: 18 percent stating it had had a negative effect on motivation, 17 percent a positive one.
When asked about their biggest concerns when looking for graduate job roles, 69 percent said that too much competition worried them most, with ‘not enough jobs’ being the second most popular response (55 percent).
However, a quarter of students and graduates believe that the criteria for jobs is too high, suggesting many feel they do have all the skills and talent necessary to succeed in graduate roles, but are finding it difficult to get themselves noticed.
The current economic climate is having a huge effect on student career confidence, with just four percent of final year students feeling optimistic about the economy as a whole and 11 percent predicting they will feel better about it in six months’ time.
Graduates generally look negatively on the current salaries available for those fortunate enough to find jobs: 54 percent are pessimistic about potential earnings compared to 41 percent being optimistic.
Mike Barnard added: “Students must be given the information they need to make informed career decisions to enable them to take their first strides into employment after university. The perception that there are too few jobs, that other students have better experience or recruiters will overlook them because of their university choice can be tackled by clear guidance on where the jobs in their preferred industry are, how to get relevant experience while studying and encouragement to get career advice in their first year of university.”