Graduates worry a lack of career confidence will hold them back

May 9, 2022 | Attraction & marketing

Content provided by: Careerpass Network

New research helps employers and universities engage and support this year’s graduating cohort, explains Sean Talbot from Careerpass Network.

Careerpass Network has conducted a survey of 2,092 UK university students and graduates to gain an in-depth look into the landscape of the current graduate recruitment market.

The findings offer employers and universities insights into how they can improve current processes and support graduates entering the job market.

It found that only 11% of those graduating in 2022 have already secured a graduate job, with 41% of students and graduates not feeling confident about entering the workplace.

Lack of employability opportunities

This perceived lack of confidence speaks to the negative after-effects of the pandemic, where physical employability events, internships, and work placements were halted due to social distancing restrictions. This left 37% of survey respondents feeling that there have not been enough opportunities to engage with employers during their time at university.

Despite the efforts of UK universities, many of which put on virtual employability events throughout the pandemic, 20% of 2022 graduates said they did not find virtual career fairs beneficial. A further majority said that they missed out on the chance to attend mock assessment centres (52%) or mock interviews (42%), leading to one in four feeling that they’ve been unable to gain the right employability skills during their studies.

Because of this, development and skill-building are top priorities for many job-seeking graduates, with 61% saying that they’re looking for roles that offer paid training opportunities as a part of their compensation package.

This means that employers who offer a wider range of opportunities such as internships, industrial placements and graduate schemes are going to be much more attractive to graduates looking to build up industry-specific skills and career confidence.

Salary is king

When asked what other factors prompt 2022 graduates to apply for a role, salary ranked as the most important element (72%), followed by location (65%), and flexible working (58%).

In comparison, unclear job descriptions (64%), undisclosed salaries (44%), and feeling that they did not fulfil all the requirements for the role (37%) were the most offputting factors for graduates looking for employment this year.

With these in mind, employers are urged to be more transparent with their salaries, and to consider integrating more flexible working practices into their roles to attract 2022’s top talent.

Managing director of Careerpass Network’s Advertising Solutions, Chris May, offers advice on what to do when it comes to defining job requirements, particularly for attracting female graduates who are already underrepresented across many industries:

“Previous ISE research has indicated females are less likely than males to apply for a role if they don’t meet all the role requirements. Be clear about essential requirements and areas you are able to offer training. Consider using gender language decoders to neutralise bias in job descriptions.”

Getting back on campus

What’s also clear from the study is that students and graduates are keen for the job search to return with in-person opportunities. Over half (55%) of those graduating this year want employers to offer opportunities to engage with them face-to-face.

Getting back on campus is a great way to connect with prospective candidates at the very start of the hiring process. Offer deeper insights into your company’s values and working practices, and find highly skilled graduates who believe in your vision and want to give back to companies that are willing to invest in them.

Although many companies may feel that social media advertisements are the way forward when promoting to candidates, the survey uncovered that 80% of students and graduates do not use social media to research roles.

Instead, 73% of those graduating this year have been looking on job boards. This means that it can be far more cost-effective for employers to scale back social media campaigns and instead invest their resources into campus-led career fairs and graduate-specific job boards to get themselves in front of the right talent.

Although there may still be some unforeseen challenges in the post-pandemic job market, utilising these key takeaways and using them to build a more transparent, talent-driven hiring process should give employers the tools they need to connect with worthwhile talent and build a strong workforce for the future.

To find out what else the research uncovered, download the free online eBook

Read more student and graduate research


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