Do students become pessimistic once they graduate?

Do students become pessimistic once they graduate? Is there a chance of students not being fully prepared for the graduate job market once they finish their degree, or are graduates not willing to work hard to secure a job? A survey conducted by Career Preparedness and Lifelong Learning asked nearly 8,000 students and graduates how they felt their university or college course prepared them for the job market.

According to the study around 90 per cent of students in the UK were satisfied with their course and felt their university offered them skills and experience they could use later in their career. However, UK graduates were less satisfied with less than 50 per cent feeling they received satisfactory experience, and 70 per cent being happy with the skills they learnt during their degree.

The report continues to show that the difference in student and graduate perspective is the largest of any developed country that participated in the survey. UK graduates are less likely to secure a job in their chosen career sector or field of work than graduates from other countries, and 32 per cent of graduates in the UK were not working in a job role that they considered connected to their degree. This placed the UK as number 11 in a developed nation poll.

Jared Stein the vice-president of research and education at Instructure told the Times Higher Education magazine that “Students in the UK tend to be more optimistic” about how well they are prepared for their chosen career than those who begin working after their degree.

The disparity overall reveals that graduates need to gain these skills and training in other areas of their lives, from work, independent studying and experience to fully prepared them for a graduate career and a changing job market. Stein added “Every school and university should put an emphasis on career preparedness” and “universities should also make students look further than two or three years into the job market”. Graduates should understand that the job market is constantly adapting and their skills and training should reflect these changes to ensure they are suited to their career.

Graduates may feel unprepared for career soul-searching with endless job applications, confusing interview questions and heartbreaking rejections. Although that 2014 was the best year for graduate job since the recession back in 2008, only around one third of graduates found full-time work in the career of their choice. However this does not mean that the rest of graduates do not find a job – they may do eventually, or in a field that is different to their degree.

Only 8 per cent of students who graduated in 2013 were unemployed six months after finishing university, but a survey conducted by the Higher Education Statistical Agency found that 48 percent of graduates stated that their current wage was lower than expected and 57 per cent earning £16,000 or less. These statistics may be a shock for recent graduates who have aspirations of earning a high wage and starting the job of their dreams, and after studying for three to four years and paying up to £9,000 a year – is it worth it?