Can you remember your first job? Was it enough to pay your bills, or did you have to sponge off your parents?
On graduation, most fresh graduates feel on top of the world and rather special; that is until they join the thousands of other graduates in search of the dream job.
Suddenly, it is not just about getting a high salary, or the position they were hoping for. Many graduates think that the most devastating thing is the lack of suitable jobs. One fresh gradaute said, “In today’s economic climate, many businesses are closing down, rather than expanding. It is difficult to get a job.”
For others, the problem is the lack of experience. Many, who apply for jobs, complain that at the interview, they are told that they are inexperienced.
As one graduate said, “This Catch-22 situation is so frustrating. The employers are asking for at least two years experience, but how can I get onto the employment ladder, and obtain the necessary experience, when after each interview,the door is firmly shut in my face?”
On the other hand, one postgraduate, who applied for a position was told that he was overqualified. One post-graduate said, “Which is it? I am overqualified or under-qualified?”
Apart from the experience, the cost of living is a huge problem. One graduate, who works in a small family run firm said, “Rental accommodation is beyond my means, so I am forced to live with my parents.
“At present, my father takes me to work, or I take a taxi. Using a taxi is expensive, but at least I do not feel bad about wasting my father’s precious time. My parents do worry, if I have to work overtime and come home late.
“I am taking driving lessons, to be more independent; however, getting a driving licence is only half the problem, as I could not afford a car.
“Like other graduates, the things we need most are affordable accommodation and cheap transport. Many graduates like me, still stay at home. Public transport is non-existent.”
Employers failing to pay their graduates for many months
One graduate who has worked in a small business said, “During the last two years, the boss has twice, been unable to pay my monthly salary. He claimed that with a shortage of work, the firm was struggling.
“I have stuck it out for as long as I can; but it is frustrating that despite the boss’s sob story, I saw him driving a new car, the next month.
“I have tried applying to other firms, but it is the same story. There are no openings.
“I am reluctant to move, because there are few jobs on the market because if I stay, I will not be paid. I am in a desperate situation. I do not want to work for nothing, but if I leave now, what legal redress do I have?”
Another graduate, who is in a similar position said, “Even non-graduate roles are hard to find. I have no regrets about getting a degree qualification, but the government must do more to address the many challenges faced by graduates.”