The iconic 1967 film, The Graduate, left an indelible impression on me with Dustin Hoffman’s poor little rich boy, Benjamin Braddock (the naive graduate), mercilessly manipulated by scheming seductress Mrs Robinson, played by Anne Bancroft. Benjamin is a recent university graduate with no well-defined aim in life who gets into a bit of a mess trying to forge his way in the world.
Whilst I can’t attach quite the same degree of dramatic pathos to events 43 years on, the plight of the current UK graduate is , nonetheless, a real cause for concern.
A survey released by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) on 6th July 2010 reveals nearly 70 graduates are fighting for every job – in contrast with 2006 when it was just 28 competing for a job. Carl Gilleard, AGR, chief executive, comments on the trend of more graduates competing for fewer jobs saying, “A degree doesn’t give anyone a Divine right to a well-paid job and a fancy company car.”
AGR forecast job vacancies are expected to decrease by nearly 7% this year (note my previous ‘blog-worry’ about UK jobs and the stimulation of UK economic growth – ‘It’s all about equilibrium’, and ‘The Beveridge Curve’). The AGR survey also reveals 75% of employers now specify a 2:1 degree as a minimum – because they are flooded by graduate job seekers.
Duncan Bannatyne, famous entrepreneur and chairman of Bannatyne Fitness, states in the Daily Telegraph Business Section (8 July 2010) ‘Graduates should become a lot more flexible if they want to fit into today’s business environment’.
It strikes me that as public sector services embark upon significant retrenchment and transformation, employers should also become much more flexible in today’s business environment by radical organisational re-design to create entry-level opportunities and career paths for young, Benjamin Braddock-type talent. Are you seduced by this argument?