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Why 2016 Is The Year Of The Graduate

Marketa Littlemore tells us why being a graduate in 2016 shouldn't be as bad as previous years.

Millennials, or Generation Y, have long been gaining ground in employability with increasing numbers of organisations recognising their importance to business. A fresh way of working, an innovative approach to problem solving , a real investment in company culture and ‘making a difference’ are setting this generation apart as highly desirable team members. But why, exactly, is 2016 going to be a stand-out year for graduates?
The business world has been plagued with an ever-growing shortage of specialist skills in recent years. Not only are new jobs opening up as technology advances in every sector, but areas of business, such as HR and compliance, are taking on rock-star status as legislation changes. As well as this, companies are investing more into departments that deal with relatively modern issues like cyber security and brand management – but who will fill these roles? Well, eagle-eyed employers are now on the look-out for those who have experience – or display potential – in these areas. Enter the naturally tech-savvy graduates we have today. Yet it is not only their propensity for all things technological that is attractive to recruiters, because degrees that previous generations may have bemoaned as ‘undesirable’ for business are now becoming sought after as competitive firms look for new ways of tackling problems. This means that a much wider candidate pool is often considered for these roles, for example, Google Ventures actually employs designers on its team and the government is backing programmes which support young creatives who are likely to help shape the future of business.
As a result of skills shortages, job availability has risen in many sectors and more employment options have become available to Generation Y. Yet, despite this, many of 2015’s top jobs remained unfilled when the year came to a close as organisations fought and, for the first time, lost the top talent. In fact, a recent study by High Fliers, a market research company, revealed that some of the very best-paid jobs went unfilled last year as an unprecedented number of university students rejected offers or opted for placements they had obtained before their graduation. To be precise, 1,074 places remained unoccupied in 2015, up from just 100 in 2010.
So where are all of these skilled graduates going? Well, there are increasing numbers of jobseekers opting for freelance opportunities instead of salaried positions. The rise of the ‘gig economy’, where professionals work on a freelance basis, is aiding this, but it can be difficult to land on your feet without much experience. So it seems as though the biggest proportion of the graduates who are turning down the top opportunities are opting instead for a number of successful start-ups. These smaller – and often quirkier – organisations provide many with the perfect climate for creativity, with many students keeping their eyes peeled during the months before graduation for the perfect opportunity. Yet this is also great news for those who will be looking for more traditional employment this year as institutions are having to get creative with methods to attract – and retain – their staff with competitive salaries, perks and bonus packages. 
On top of this, many students are opting to work internationally as more opportunities are available and it provides great experience – both professionally and personally. Here at NonStop, for example, we believe that travel and new surroundings are key for individual growth, and so we have situated our training facilities – or ‘engine room’ – in Prague,Anchor the Czech Republic. This allows the graduates we bring on board to train in a pan-European environment, and helps turn all of our employees into motivated, key members of our teams across the continent.
So it looks as though graduates are in a pretty powerful position in 2016, with a wealth of desirable skills to leverage, a new way of working that many companies want to capitalise on, and a vast array of opportunities both here and overseas.However, it’s crucial to remember that success is still earned and nobody is going to be gifted a job without putting in some hard graft. Ultimately, while firms are looking for newer qualities like social media or digital expertise, they are largely still looking for the ‘old school’ assets in their next generation of employees. Qualities like loyalty, hard work and effort go a long way and it is only by displaying these that you will guarantee that a business invests in you. It’s also important that jobseekers leverage all of their skills to give themselves the best shot at landing a job. Are you a whizz online? Did your summer placement teach you any relevant, transferable skills? Did you get a good grade in a module relevant to the company’s sector? Capitalise on all of these and 2016 will be your year.
Happy job hunting!
Marketa Littlemore is Head of Talent Acquisition at NonStopRecruitment

NonStop Recruitment are always on the lookout for their next star Trainee Recruitment Consultants

  • Date published: 26th January 2016
  • Written by: Marketa Littlemore
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