Manchester’s university students are facing a desperate fight for graduate jobs as they near the end of their student lives.
The pressures for final year students are huge as they face deadlines and gruelling weeks of future-defining exams.
However, the biggest fear for many final year students is what they will be doing next year once they finish their courses and are unleashed on the ‘real world’.
In July 2013, the Guardian published the latest figures for graduates who ended up in higher education or employment – and the Mancunian institutions find themselves well down the league tables.
Manchester’s top-three universities find themselves near the bottom of the Guardian’s table with the University of Manchester finishing the highest in 91st.
Percentage of students in further study or employment
The University of Manchester
The Manchester Metropolitan University
The University of Salford
This news is not great for students who already find it ultra-competitive to grab one of the limited of graduate jobs.
University of Manchester geography student Jonny Thompson believes the universities should timetable career planning lessons into each degree course.
“If they scheduled them early in the final year term, before deadlines begin to pile up, then I would definitely go.
“Plus, it would help as most graduate schemes open applications around that time.”
Either way, Manchester’s students are all feeling the pressure of final year and their biggest fear is finding that first job.
Mr Thompson added: “After three years of living independently the last thing I want to be doing is moving back in with my parents, so someone please give me a job.”
Samuel Evans, 21, an English student at the University of Manchester is one of a number of frustrated final year students who are struggling to find employment next year.
“I don’t know how many applications I’ve sent off but I am barely hearing any responses – it just seems like a waste of time,” said Mr Evans.
Another student who shares Mr Evans’ pain is Billy Sparrow, 20, a Maths undergraduate at Manchester Metropolitan University.
“It’s like banging your head against a brick wall: to even get a response seems like a success,” said Mr Sparrow.
“I’m not really sure what I’m going to do next year.”
The Office for National Statistics also published a study last year on the likelihood of employment for university graduates.
It shows that university graduates are still more likely to grab a job and have higher earnings than those who left education with lower qualifications.
So, why are final year students finding it so struggling to find a graduate job?
Professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers lead The Times top 100 lists of graduate employers.
They offer 1,200 graduate jobs and say they chose the best students no matter what university they go to.
However, Students are finding the applications for many top firms difficult, long and confusing.
The ultimate prize for securing one of these jobs is a lucrative £19,000 to £30,000-per-year – dream money for any student.
However, applying for these schemes can come at a cost to a student’s degree as they need to sacrificeup valuable teaching time to attend the many open days, assessment centres and interviews needed to have a shot at success.
Katie Garner, 21, an accounting student at Manchester Metropolitan felt her grades suffer as she attended the many assessment centres.
“I spent pretty much a month travelling to and from London and ended up missing a lot of lectures and had too little time for my work,” she added.
“I ended up getting a C in one of pieces of coursework which would have been close to an A if I’d been able to go to those lectures I missed.
“Worst thing was I didn’t end up getting on any of the graduate schemes.”
William Davies, 20, an economics student at the University of Salford is one such student who finds the application process long and confusing.
“You complete the pages and pages of online forms and stupid pointless questions and then you don’t even get a response that’s what angers me the most,” said Mr Davies.
Many of these application processes are alien to many students and although all three universities offer a careers service not many students are taking it up.
“With all my lectures and deadlines I don’t have the time to go and see the careers service. I want to focus on my work but then I’m left panicking when graduate job applications begin to close,” Mr Davies added.
Images courtesy of Physics Manchester via Youtube with thanks