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    (Original post by n65uk)
    Half agree. Most of it is down to the fact employers now aren't looking JUST for a piece of paper to say you did a 3 year course in a certain subject.

    We are still in a horrible job market.

    And also, some graduates are lazy, some refuse to apply for minimum wage jobs as they believe they are better than that, others think they should automatically have a job handed to them, other's work at a minimum wage job to show employers they've down something.
    I agree, I found out I needed to have done loads of stuff at uni (anything with the word "team" in it). I didn't find this out until I started applying for grad schemes though, and that's too late. To put it simple, I didn't know I had to do all that crap to get a job.

    If you have ever filled in those stupid questions (explain a time when you worked in a team where one of you was older and wearing an item of orange clothing and you solved a problem creatively. To do with money.) You need stuff other than uni, in the last two years. I didn't really have any of that so I could never get into those grad schemes.

    Some graduates are lazy, but it is hard to get minimum wage jobs too. Companies don't want to employ someone who will most likely just leave at the drop of a hat. God knows I applied to hundreds of jobs (minimum wage, part time, anything) when I graduated.
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    A lot of those things you mentioned people should be doing can be difficult to do at university without any money. Societies tend to cost money one way or another, even having to have gym membership for certain sports. Travel costs money too even if it is subsidised. Charity work obviously doesn't pay you anything and some people need to use that time doing work they will get paid for. It can be difficult for some people.
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    (Original post by DavidHD)
    Since June I've been doing a temp admin job while looking to find something more career related (got 2:1 Computer Science @ University of Hertfordshire). Yes, I've had some interviews in this time but I've not been able to get in anywhere. What's been really frustrating is the occasions I've been fobbed off with cheap excuses after the interview. One was "oh they've interviewed the candidates and the job spec has been changed" and my particular favourite was after an interview I had with an asset management firm. In the interview I was told that since the IT guys don't come from a financial background the financial knowledge isn't essential from the outset and that they will train candidates in this aspect. Guess what the supposedly rejected me for not having...financial knowledge!!!
    It's likely not you, but them. A lot of companies manage to be quite hopeless at running their graduate recruitment processes, mainly because the graduate applications come in such huge volumes that they have to be handled by a dedicated HR department, not by the managers who you'll actually be working for, and there often seem to be communication issues between the two. I have had applications where HR have picked me out as a strong candidate and made me do the web-based test, telephone interview etc and then when it's come to the next stage (recommending me to managers of teams that I'd be a good candidate for interview) it's turned out that none of the teams in that discipline have been hiring. I have also had ones where I have even been interviewed for a vacancy in a specific team, and then they have mysteriously gone quiet for longer than the period they said they'd get back to me by... and have then had a call / e-mail to say they've decided to shuffle their existing employees around and don't need anybody after all, or have decided that a more experienced person not a new graduate would fit in better. It sounds like with you there might just have been a job description mismatch between the managers and HR - HR put financial knowledge at the top of their list as it's a financial firm, IT managers don't, however it's probably going to be HR making the final choices on who to hire.

    Also as others have said, in the job market at the moment you don't get the job for just meeting the minimum requirements - instead this is more like the baseline they filter by before seeing what people really have to offer. Your interviewer was not lying when they said you could do the job without financial knowledge, but if you had been up against somebody else whose IT knowledge was as good as you but could also demonstrate a keen interest in finance, guess who they'd have picked?
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    (Original post by PygmyShrew)
    A lot of those things you mentioned people should be doing can be difficult to do at university without any money. Societies tend to cost money one way or another, even having to have gym membership for certain sports. Travel costs money too even if it is subsidised. Charity work obviously doesn't pay you anything and some people need to use that time doing work they will get paid for. It can be difficult for some people.
    Yes but you can get a lot of skills from paid work too. Employers won't care about whether you're doing it as paid work or to help orphaned kiddies in Africa; you are still going to be using skills such as teamwork and communication, no matter what it is you're actually doing.

    I also think that expensive activities such as travel are less help than you think on your CV - unless you are doing it to volunteer or work abroad (i.e. acquire useful skills) it is basically a holiday, and holidays shouldn't be on your CV. Unless you can talk about them in these terms (so in terms of skills) you risk looking like a bit of a spoilt ****. The "gap yah" culture is relatively new and I think a lot of the older generation resent it a bit.

    BTW my main extra-curricular activity, which was production / backstage work at the theatre, cost me something like £10 to join as a life member and then cost me absolutely nothing. And gave me a lot to talk about at interview in terms of useful skills, probably more than expensive things like sports and travel would have in terms of skills relevant to the job. Though I admit I spent an awful lot of time doing it when I could have been doing paid work.
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    (Original post by thefish_uk)
    Also as others have said, in the job market at the moment you don't get the job for just meeting the minimum requirements - instead this is more like the baseline they filter by before seeing what people really have to offer. Your interviewer was not lying when they said you could do the job without financial knowledge, but if you had been up against somebody else whose IT knowledge was as good as you but could also demonstrate a keen interest in finance, guess who they'd have picked?
    Very fair points. One must also take into account the simple & unfortunate fact that every job you get an interview for probably has several other equally skilled candidates in line, some with more experience in the specific area you're looking for.

    I will never regret going to University as I made some lifelong friends and it was probably the best three years of my life from a social and academic standing, however when I now look at some of my friends who didn't go to Uni, got jobs when they left school and are now at managerial levels earning vastly more money than me...well it's damn frustrating. Of course if I landed a good job in a decent company then I could potentially go above and beyond that but knowing that (in the short term at least) I'm saddled with £20K debt and earning £900 a month (at best) in a job I despise but can't get anything better really makes me ask some serious questions...
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    In my experience (which is probably very narrow and not universally accurate) the situation is more to do with coincedently having innocent connections. Not in a malicious 'rich people get everything way' neccesarily but I have friends who have really relevant degrees applying a year in advance to companys and responding to ads etc and struggling and then I have friends with less relevant degrees in very specific/obscure subjects (but no doubt hard none the less) who casually tell me they have it sorted because (by no fault of their own) there parents happen to know someone owning or in a high place at a company or their friends/relatives are in a big company. It's not their fault, it's just convenient that they know someone who is looking where as hoards of less connected, status-less people just go about applying blindly to random companys fight for one place with about every other graduate in the area.

    This is just what I have seen, OP no doubt has good poimts but you cannot brand everyone like that. Just like, not everyone well off/connected gets a place through connections.

    (i got an apprenticeship as a plasterer because my dad is a builder and has his own 'connections' but then I went to uni instead)
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    (Original post by pooo)
    In my experience (which is probably very narrow and not universally accurate) the situation is more to do with coincedently having innocent connections. Not in a malicious 'rich people get everything way' neccesarily but I have friends who have really relevant degrees applying a year in advance to companys and responding to ads etc and struggling and then I have friends with less relevant degrees in very specific/obscure subjects (but no doubt hard none the less) who casually tell me they have it sorted because (by no fault of their own) there parents happen to know someone owning or in a high place at a company or their friends/relatives are in a big company. It's not their fault, it's just convenient that they know someone who is looking where as hoards of less connected, status-less people just go about applying blindly to random companys fight for one place with about every other graduate in the area.

    This is just what I have seen, OP no doubt has good poimts but you cannot brand everyone like that. Just like, not everyone well off/connected gets a place through connections.

    (i got an apprenticeship as a plasterer because my dad is a builder and has his own 'connections' but then I went to uni instead)
    You make some good points and i certainly didn't mean to brand everyone as lazy (although i can see that i may have inadvertantly done that!)

    I am not sure if "connections" have much relevance these days. I have certainly not noticed it in any of my applications for graduate schemes. However, I don't have connections nor do i know anyone with connections! I really hope that employers these days don't hire people based solely on them having a respected family member, etc.
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    (Original post by PygmyShrew)
    A lot of those things you mentioned people should be doing can be difficult to do at university without any money. Societies tend to cost money one way or another, even having to have gym membership for certain sports. Travel costs money too even if it is subsidised. Charity work obviously doesn't pay you anything and some people need to use that time doing work they will get paid for. It can be difficult for some people.
    That is a fair point. Things such as travelling, etc cannot be done by everyone. However, i think employers realise this and would put just as much emphasis on someone gaining transferable skills through paid employment.

    One employer even said to me at an open day that he would rather hire someone who has been forced to have a job to fund university than someone whose parents have paid for them to have a gap year.
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    I think it's a bit of a shame that the Degree seems to have (in this country anyway) devalued to the point that a vast majority those with one are reduced to scattergun applications here there and everywhere out of sheer desperation...then it just comes down to pot luck.

    I think it's a combination of obviously the economic downturn combined with soaring University attendance rates. I remember when I was doing my A Levels at a fairly middle of the road 6th form it was always "Must go to Uni. Uni uni uni...do your UCAS!!", really hammering the University idea to a lot of people who wouldn't have been up to such academic standards but could attend a poorer University regardless.

    Even when I attended my first year at Herts I was stunned by the number of "students" there who acted as if they were still in school with very little regard for where they actually were or what they were supposed to be doing.
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    (Original post by dinotopiaisawful)
    You make some good points and i certainly didn't mean to brand everyone as lazy (although i can see that i may have inadvertantly done that!)

    I am not sure if "connections" have much relevance these days. I have certainly not noticed it in any of my applications for graduate schemes. However, I don't have connections nor do i know anyone with connections! I really hope that employers these days don't hire people based solely on them having a respected family member, etc.
    Haha! No, not in that respect. But if you know someone well/close family friend who owns a place where you could get a job it helps. I do econ but applied for law and my dads lawyer (who we're really close to, he came from the same council estate as my dad and they've been pals since high school) told me that I could get an internship at his company easily: 'you know i'm one of the 8 on the board and it's really easy for me to guaruntee your plase, so dinny worry'

    Not every place is gotten like that of course and nor does everyone who has a million connections use them/need them to get a job. But it is incredibly easier. And yeah you're right. Even when applying for skills-based part time jobs (at primark, asda, macdonald - who btw rejected me) its the same. People who tidy of their act, get CVs posted everywhere, constantly on the look out etc and then there are people who always complain about being short of cash and there not being any P-T jobs when they themeselves are only putting a half-arsed effort in.

    It's a mixture of effort, ambition, know how and luck for any talented graduate. Good thread though.
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    (Original post by pooo)
    Haha! No, not in that respect. But if you know someone well/close family friend who owns a place where you could get a job it helps. I do econ but applied for law and my dads lawyer (who we're really close to, he came from the same council estate as my dad and they've been pals since high school) told me that I could get an internship at his company easily: 'you know i'm one of the 8 on the board and it's really easy for me to guaruntee your plase, so dinny worry'

    Not every place is gotten like that of course and nor does everyone who has a million connections use them/need them to get a job. But it is incredibly easier. And yeah you're right. Even when applying for skills-based part time jobs (at primark, asda, macdonald - who btw rejected me) its the same. People who tidy of their act, get CVs posted everywhere, constantly on the look out etc and then there are people who always complain about being short of cash and there not being any P-T jobs when they themeselves are only putting a half-arsed effort in.

    It's a mixture of effort, ambition, know how and luck for any talented graduate. Good thread though.
    Don't worry Macdonalds rejected me as well!
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    (Original post by MagicNMedicine)
    One of the big myths from the older generation is you can get a job and start at the bottom and work your way up. You might have been able to in the past but it's pretty rare now. When companies run graduate schemes, they are targeting graduate recruitment at people who they see as having potential to progress, the other staff they have are just to make up the numbers on the lower salaries at the bottom. If you get an entry level job where you're just photocopying, filing and answering the phone, then no matter how great you are at that job you will still be doing it in 2 years time, they won't promote you to a graduate scheme. So you won't have any new skills to update your CV with.
    Very good post that makes a lot of sense.

    However, I'd share a short story of someone I met at a final assessment day at a top top firm. Hopefully this will give encouragement to some of you in a similar situation.

    This guy was about 23 and graduated with a sports science degree from an average-mediocre university (using TSR's scale here ). Realising that oh- actually, better get a job, he tried applying to various graduate schemes and predictably got rejected from everywhere. The combination of an irrelevant degree and a non-taget uni was was holding him back.

    He then applied for a low level internal role at this firm. They told him that he was overqualified but he went for it anyway to 'get his foot in the door'. Worked there for a few months and applied for the highly competitive graduate scheme from within the firm and had his application processed as priority such that he went from application, to tests, to interviews, to final assessment centre within a week.

    Many lessons to learn from his experience. Most important one is that he applied to the low level job not with the hopes of 'working his way up' but to make contacts at the firm, get a feel for the corporate culture and get the various competencies and skills the graduate scheme people want.

    Note that there is nothing sinister in what he's done. He achieved short term goals in order to create opportunities that would allow him to jump on the graduate scheme.
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    (Original post by jonny)
    Thats a bit unfair, there are simply not enough jobs for all the graduates
    Or in a country which until very recently had a government that had a "50% of school leavers go into HE" policy there are just far too many graduates for positions.

    What is the answer? Reduce the amount of graduates in the market or 'raise the bar' of job requirements, making a degree necessary for jobs of a fairly menial nature that previously didn't require it?

    I'm currently following a pathway that will lead me into nursing, a career that until relatively recently was diploma level, not degree. At an interview a couple of months back one of the questions asked of our group to discuss was the impact of changing nursing from a diploma to a degree. "It will give the patients more confidence in us", was the response one of the applicants made. Really? How? The patients have no knowledge of whether the nurse caring for them is a diploma holder or degree holder, not unless the individual nurse has divulged this fact on them and considering the vast majority of nurses within the NHS are diploma not degree holders it seems that the 'grade' of qualification nurses hold bears little relation to the quality of care they (in this healthcare system that is considered one of the best in the world) provide. No, the far more likely reason as to why nursing is changing from a diploma to a degree is one of parity within educational estabilishments, nothing more.

    A degree is seen as a set 'thing' by many. The worth of that degree is the fact it is a degree, not the content nor perhaps purpose. Nursing has had to become a degree because in the eyes of those who know not it was a lesser course of study as a diploma. Content of the diploma be damned, it wasn't a degree!

    This perhaps points to the issue. A degree is a degree is a degree. 'A degree' will open doors, 'a degree' is what you must attain in order to do anything other than serve fries at McDonalds.......these are the illusions many enter or approach the realm of HE under. When compounded by an official statement of "50%" it only increases the idea that 'a degree' is the be all and end all. Of course all the time there were voices in the background being drowned out by "achievement for all" calls, quietly warning that perhaps 'useful degrees' might be a better target than 'a degree' and that perhaps the market might become over-satuated.

    Simple fact is that there are far too many graduates in the market now and employers know this. They often look at the content of the degree in detail during interviews rather than just the mark or where it was taken (hence the slide in the 'old boys club' assisting recruitment), looking to see if the degree is relevent to their industry. Whilst previously a degree in just about anything would stand a graduate in good stead as it showed certain abilities above and beyond those held by their peers this is no longer so.

    There may also be the need to gain higher, more expensive to study, qualifications in order to push your head just a little higher than those around you and then this fact works against those the previous government was so keen to push, those from lower/working class backgrounds. Doctors etc, people who have to gain further postgraduate qualification, traditionally come from middle class backgrounds because of the cost implications those further studies have. If graduates are having to take postgraduate studies just to get ahead of their peers in industries such as logistics then the prospect of many thousands of degree holders from less fortunate backgrounds watching the rug slip out from under them and tottering back into call centre jobs whilst being lumbered with degree level debt is inevitable.

    'A degree' isn't the answer to all of life's problems and unfortunately many who are left with a bitter taste in their mouths (and a large amount of debt) over the whole process have been the playthings of an unsucessful attempt at social engineering that bore little attention to the realities of the market.
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    I think for your first break you need a bit of luck to get in.

    Once you are in an industry, if you have talent and work hard then its easy to get noticed and progress, and bright people can rise very quickly. The problem is a lot of talented people are scrapping around looking for their first break. That's where having contacts etc helps, it guarantees you a first break. Otherwise there is much more of a lottery element, ie a firm hires 15 graduates, they have 800 applicants, 50 of them are high quality and well suited to the role. Then 35 good ones are going to miss out!

    The worst thing is some graduates get disillusioned and stop bothering to try after a while and so they never get on the ladder of being able to get a good job. Whilst they may try to convince themselves that they have had a lucky escape by missing the "rat race" and being "chained to a job", unless they marry a rich wife/husband who will pay their rent and mortgage, they will be just as much chained to a job as the ones who got graduate schemes.

    The difference between spending 3 years doing audit being bored off your face, and 3 years working in a call centre being bored off your face, is that the person doing audit will have an ACA and probably be able to go to another job where he will whinge about being bored off his face, on £40k a year, whereas the call centre guy will face another year whinging about being bored and broke because he's struggling to pay his rent and bills on his £16k a year salary.
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    yeah i agree with the above. Good input
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    A lot of people have restrictions either placed on them or that they place on themselves. My partner's sister refused to look for a job anywhere but a certain large metropolitan northern city. She lost her graduate job two days in and had to look for another job. It happens more than you might think actually. Problem was, she was already tied into commitments such as a lease. She had no choice but to stay put, at least unless she was prepared to walk out on her lease, face getting sued and let down a friend sharing the lease in the process.
    The end of this story is a happy one, she's working in a job she quite enjoys which she got by taking an entry level job in the understanding it could lead to a promotion and it did.

    I have other friends who graduated university, none of whom I would say were strictly lazy. I'm probably the laziest of all of them, working for myself in a role that only requires I leave the house for about 3-4 hours on average each day. But the problem for many of the other people I know is that they restrict themselves. One person I know who graduated with a degree in Spanish and Linguistics could have easily got a job teaching English abroad at a graduate level because she's bi-lingual. Could have been a serious contender that way. But she won't. Has a complete block against it and now she's struggling to find any kind of work in this country. She has a low-hours contract where the hours just won't increase and she's doggedly sticking to it. Yet another acquaintance will refuse to look for roles outside of her chosen field of media. Good luck with that in the furthest North of England. She utterly refuses to look further afield. Or to consider round-about roles such as teaching. Or consider alternatives which everyone knows she would be good at and would bring in a good wage for a couple of years. She could even have done a masters with links to the media industry and got a student loan to cover it [she didn't take one out for UG] but she won't. She even flakes out on attending network events and never makes the most of the opportunities introduced to her. Plus all the money she could be saving for investing in equipment such as cameras or for a deposit on a lease in the south of England she spends on utter rubbish [not rent even, she lives with her parents]. The stubbornness of these people frustrates me because they're wasting years of their lives that are so crucial for building up experience, contacts and skills that could lead to them doing something better later on. The lack of realism irritates me as well.

    Some people just find themselves virtually unemployable though after going to university. I got a wakeup call just before the final year started that that was going to be me if I wasn't careful and quickly got a qualification that would permit me to get work anywhere in the world and this was the best investment of time that I ever made. i knew I would need to kick-start my career somehow. However, when I did have to look for work in this country [family commitments beckoned me back to this country], it was an incredibly difficult process. Application forms for menial jobs are very difficult to fill out with any degree of integrity when you know it's not your life-long ambition to do the job but you have to pretend it is in order to get the job. I struggle in interview situations to jump through hoops and most of the jobs I've got were positions where there was no formal interview process and no lengthy application process either. I had the opportunity to be honest with the employer about why I wanted the job and why I was doing a job that my background didn't exactly marry itself to easily. Employers appreciated my honesty and took me on anyway. But the higher graduate roles? I've gone for a few and have been rejected for ridiculous reasons. [You were really excellent in nearly everything we're looking for but there were just two things that apparently write you off entirely. By the same reasoning, someone who was mediocre across the board but checked all the boxes would be accepted.] I started to realise it was a competition where it doesn't matter how suitable you are for the role, you're won't get it either due to a penalty point or a lack of understanding of the rules. I gave up in the end, went back to my roots and stuck with it. I freelance now and I do just fine for the most part. It's a world I can navigate. I just don't really know how to play the corporate/leadership/graduate scheme game. I think a lot of people find themselves in the same position.
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    Yeah, to summarise the above post, it is also about how gflexible you are willing to be
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    good post Giella, raises some interesting points
 
 
 
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