Students must prepare early to succeed in graduate job market

Students who seek out challenging opportunities to develop themselves are also more likely to learn new skills for future work. This puts them in a strong position when entering the graduate jobs market says a study presented at the BPS Division of Occupational Psychology annual conference in Nottingham.

The research, undertaken by Dr Andrew Clements (University of Bedfordshire) and Dr Caroline Kamau of (Birkbeck University of London), was based on a survey of 432 undergraduate students recruited from over twenty universities in the United Kingdom.

Dr Andrew Clements explained: “Graduate employment is a serious concern for universities.  Many graduates are looking for work six months after graduation and some find themselves working in jobs that do not require a degree.  This has prompted universities to take action to improve graduate employability.”

Based on a survey of 432 undergraduate students recruited from over twenty universities in the United Kingdom the researchers found that students who felt more committed to their career goals and preferred to seek challenging goals for self-development were also more likely to be preparing for their future careers.  In turn, developing skills for the future and networking made students feel more confident about their future careers.

Andrew Clements said: “Undergraduate students often delay preparing for their careers until it is too late.  In the first two years of study the career may seem a long way away, but it is really important to set career goals as early as possible.  Students should commit to putting their plans into action because this will prepare them for the tough graduate job market.  Personal tutors are in a good position to encourage an early commitment to career preparation.”

The Division of Occupational Psychology annual conference takes place from the 6 to 8 January 2015 at the East Midlands Conference Centre, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RJ.