The Future of the Job Market

We’ve all heard the doom and gloom stories surrounding the employment prospects of young people – so the news that there is set to be a jobs boom in the next few years might sound like the ramblings of someone who took full advantage of their local’s happy hour. But mad ramblings these are not! Total Jobs commissioned a piece of research called “Mind The Gap”, in which they explored the graduate jobs market at present and over the next few years, and found that by 2017, there will be a 22% increase in graduate jobs. But they also found that at present 61% of employers are struggling to fill their vacancies; with employers pointing to a “skills gap” as the issue preventing them from giving it some Alan Sugar and yelling, “You’re hired!”

These stats come at a time when another piece of research from the Institute of Education has found that we are now living in what is effectively a graduate economy. The number of positions in the country now requiring a degree outstrips those not requiring a degree, with almost 60% of jobs are created for graduates to fill.

The Skills Gap

The main issue facing employers is that graduates and entry level candidates do not have the right skills and experience, with around 40% of employers stating that they don’t believe candidates have the personal and technical skills required. The main areas of concern are technical ability in IT, manufacturing, research and development. Alongside this, another key area of concern is the communication and personal skills of candidates, with 22% of employers highlighting this as a problem.

Theoretically speaking, as students you are in an advantageous position to overcome these issues. The market favours candidates who have qualifications such as yours, and there are plenty of ways to ensure you give yourself the best chance once you graduate. One worrying statistic that did surface in the research is that although almost two thirds of vacancies are targeted at graduates, a shift in attitude is taking place. Almost 50% of employers believe there is now a shift away from graduate recruitment in favour of apprenticeships, as 27% of employers feel that this form of learning will address the skills gap, whilst other employers called for more work-focused learning in schools and universities.

Don't panic, however. There are some simple things graduates can do to improve their chances on the job market.

Grow Your IT Skills

Being computer literate and aware of different types of software and social media will be incredibly important when it comes to your ability to perform well in all industries, even if you feel that it won’t be. Lots of universities and libraries run great IT courses (lots are free), or at the very least can provide you with useful information. Setting up a blog is also a great way to become more tech savvy..

Get Some Work Experience

A tale as old as time, but experience is essential. It helps you to gain skills, become accustomed to work culture, work as part of a team and it helps you to develop written and verbal communication skills. It also means that by the time you start applying for jobs, you already have experience to offer their team. Remember that work experience comes in many forms: within industries, but also in terms of volunteering, joining societies or involvement in extra-curricular activities.

Be Proactive

When we spoke to Mike Fetters, Graduate Director at Total Jobs, he told us that the most important thing is “to never stop learning”. Everyone, graduates, non-graduates and apprentices are all in the same boat, so its important that you do all you can to chase opportunities as you continue to grow both personally and professionally.

For more information on work experience, CV writing, vacancies and everything work related head to Total Jobs, or go to your university careers service for advice.

This post was provided by James McCaffrey of VCCP Content.

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