The economy may be improving but students expect to have to fill out an average of 24 job applications before landing a job, new research from YouGov shows.
As the new university year begins, the “School Leavers and Students’ First Jobs” report reveals the expectations for life after lectures of those in further and higher education. It finds that while those at university think they will have to apply for 26 jobs before they find employment, current sixth form students who plan to enter higher education are more optimistic, expecting to fill out 17 applications.
The report shows that sixth form students are also more optimistic about their earning power after graduation, believing they will take home more (£23,000) than those currently studying for degrees (£20,250) when they get their first job after university.
YouGov’s research finds that many young people realise the importance of workplace experience when entering the job market. Almost two thirds (64%) of school leavers think that not having relevant work experience could hamper their prospects of working in their preferred career and more than three quarters (76%) of degree students believe it might be a barrier.
The research shows that young people think internships are an important way of deciding on a career. More than eight in ten (85%) of those questioned know what an internship is and among this group almost nine in ten (88%) believe they are a good way to make contacts that can help them find a permanent job. However, there is also cynicism among this group about the practice, with almost seven in ten (69%) thinking that some companies use internships as a way of getting cheap or free labour.
James McCoy, Research Director at YouGov, says: “Although the economy is showing signs of recovery, young people feel that they face an extremely tough employment situation. Most see finding employment as hard work, and the number of applications they expect to fill out is testament to that. They also appreciate how competitive the market is and how much of a premium employers put on experience when hiring staff and on balance feel that internships – although potentially exploitative – are good for their job prospects.”