Are our graduate expectations too high? #trugrad #trulondon

This blog covers my experience at #trulondon as well as the key results from new research by Milkround and aia regarding Gen Y and their social media habits.

Yesterday I attended #trulondon and once again I was swept up with the discussion going on around me ranging from #trugrads right through to Pinterest.  As usual there was lively debate both in person and on the hashtag #trulondon.  Taking my background the track I was most interested in was #trugrads.  I attended this track last February so was interested to see if anything had changed in the past year.

Unfortunately it seemed not much.  There is still a large gap between what employers expect and what graduates are actually doing.  Most of the students who were there were expecting a lot of help in finding a graduate job.  Many were scared off by the recent stats showing the vast amount of applications per job. However there are still roles which graduate recruiters are finding hard to fill because graduates either lack the necessary skills or don’t know how to promote their skills. Many of the students were expecting help with this, in particular through their careers service.  Recruiters in the room though questioned ‘are we entering a culture where students are expecting to be spoon fed too much?’

Some tips I’d give graduates:

  • Gain experience – whether this be voluntary or paid.  If you’re interested in marketing then market yourself – start a blog, tweet, why not start a board on Pinterest
  • Start networking – both offline and online.  The power  really is in your network – start discussions online with influencers, hiring managers and get yourself noticed in the social space.  Also start attending offline events, in particular industry specific.
  • Research – google how to write a CV, typical interview questions etc.  Why not ask people in your network if they can look at your CV or run through a typical interview.
  • Don’t give up – knock backs are a part of life, each one will help you build on your experience and find a role that really suits you.

I was supposed to give a track myself yesterday on Gen Y’s habits on social media but unfortunately during the madness of the unconference I didn’t have time.  The topic was the recent research we’ve conducted at Milkround alongside aia.  I was going to spend time sharing these stats and debating what they could mean for social recruiting in the graduate space.  A lot of cool ideas come out of #trulondon but are ‘Gen Y’, the digital natives, actually keeping up with all the latest technology we’re throwing at them?

We conducted 2 studies – one last year and a further one that drilled down a bit further last month. Here are just some of the key stats:

Social Media Survey – conducted by aia & Milkround

1350 respondents said:

  • 16 % use Google + daily, while 11 % use it most days. 46 % never use it.
  • 45 % have a LinkedIn profile
  • 70 % are aware that graduate recruiters use social media to promote their jobs – but over 51 % would like more assistance in how to use social media when job hunting.
  • Half of all respondents would use a mobile device to register for more details about a job, but less than a quarter would apply for a job via a mobile device.

Social Recruiting Survey – conducted by Milkround

506 respondents said:

  • 43 % have a LinkedIn profile
  • Found that the use of social media depends on which stage they are at:
    • Job Hunting Stage: 64 %
    • Research Stage: 65 %
    • Application Stage: 20 %
    • Interview Stage: 16 %
  • Facebook: 65% would add where they work on their FB profile.
  • Only 17 % of the 57 % that had a twitter account use hashtags.

It’s interesting to see that graduates are becoming more socially savvy whilst looking for a job but it seems like they’re not quite there – many need guidance on how to use these channels.  It will be interesting to see if the gap between students and recruiters narrows in the near future. Here at Milkround we try and bridge this gap by educating students and grads through doings presentations at universities about social media.

If you’d like to receive the Executive Summary for these two studies please get in touch Rhiannon.hughes@milkround.com

First graduate starting salary rise in three years

Graduates starting their careers this summer will benefit from a six percent rise in salaries.

After three years of frozen starting salaries, the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) has predicted £26,000 will be the average salary among its 214 members.

The AGR’s bi-annual survey of its members also had bad news with a predicted drop of 1.2 percent in the number of vacancies available.

Chief Executive of the AGR, Carl Gilleard said: “The predicted increase to graduate salaries is significant and sizeable, particularly given the context of starting salaries remaining stagnant for the past three years. This will no doubt be welcome news to the Government and the higher education sector, but moreover to graduates themselves.”

He added: “The findings show that the market is predicted to remain relatively stable, which is a relief and should be seen as good news against an uncertain national, European and global economy. With the job market intrinsically linked to business confidence, I am cautiously optimistic for graduate recruitment in 2012 and it is encouraging to see that only a slight drop is predicted.”

The AGR asked its members about whether they supported truncated, two-year degree programmes introduced at some universities this academic year. Half had not heard of two year degree programmes, while those that had were concerned students will be prevented from developing skills due to heavy workloads.

Gilleard said: “Employers predict two year degrees will prove popular with students. However, employers do value graduates that have work experience, and those students that have undertaken a year in industry as part of a four year degree. Consequently, there are genuine concerns surrounding students undertaking two year degrees as they do not have as much time to gain workplace experience.”