Despite the shortage of graduate jobs, GradFutures has found that 59% of students are not looking for a job until after getting their results. This means that, instead of planning ahead and attempting to secure a post-university income, most are leaving it until they actually need a job to start looking for one. This, when combined with the long delays in taking up graduate schemes - most recruit a year in advance - leaves many graduate stuck in an enforced 'gap year'.
According to the Higher Eduation Statistics Agency: "The jobless rate among 2009 graduates is the highest in seven years", and this is unlikely to get better in the immediate future. Under such circumstances, applying early is essential.
As well as leaving grads broke and dependant on their parents, society as a whole takes a hit as many of those who have failed to apply early have been forced to sign on for Job Seekers Allowance. A bit of forward planning could avoid this dependence on the taxpayer and an embarrassing hole in the CV.
The reason for final year student tardiness may lie in an increase in the importance of their degree results. In good times, when the economy was booming and fewer went to university, a 2.2 and even a 3rd would suffice, as it was enough to show employers that the applicant was university educated. In these straightened times, more and more companies are demanding "a good degree", meaning at least a 2.1. The result is that final year undergrads are devoting themselves to doing well in their exams and spending less time on applying for graduate schemes and internships.
This is the compounded by increases in university fees. Many students have had to turn to part-time work during term time and holiday jobs in order to support themselves throughout their time at university. This has left them with considerably less time to apply for jobs, and this short term employment fix is leaving them with problems that have much longer consequences.
This situation is then worsened by the universities themselves, who do not seem to be providing their student bodies with the information necessary to make their own decisions, or the information comes too late. The undergraduates are left unguided to try and decide when and how they should be applying, and clearly many are misjudging the situation.
Are you a current undergraduate? Do you want to know how to line up a decent graduate job whilst working for a 2.1? GradFutures recommends timetabling in the applications, just as you make time to revise specific modules before an exam. For more tips on when to apply, and to make the most of your applications, visit GradFutures' Careers Advice.
GradFutures is a leading graduate recruitment website. In addition to the most comprehensive listing of graduate schemes, internships and sandwich placements, GradFutures provides students with careers advice and access to a regularly updated graduate blog.