As if things aren’t bad enough for men in the marriage stakes, unless you are Mr Right, male graduates are suffering in the job market too.
Average reductions in graduate vacancies of 9% and 7% in consecutive years mask larger reductions of up to 45% in retail, IT, and telecommunications.
And the recession (or mancession) coupled with the cutbacks in graduate jobs over the last 2 years, mean that this year’s graduates are having to compete with those from 2008 and 2009 who have had the chance to get some work experience.
The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) says that for the first time the average graduate starting salary has been frozen at £25,000, there are an average of 70 applicants for every job and up to 200 for some jobs.
This year almost 4/5 of employers (up from 2/3 in 2009) – led by organisations such as Sainsbury’s, GSK, BAE Systems, and the Civil Service – are demanding 2.1 degrees as the minimum.
So male students who adopt a “just do enough” policy when it comes to studying may have to rethink their strategy.
Both the Sunday Times and The Observer (4 July 2010) reported on the fact that women are outstripping men in the job market. Men are also less likely to go to University in the first place and more likely to drop out early according to the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI).
The AGR says that many male UK graduates have; “a degree of complacency” and HEPI talks about; “the general hopelessness of young men”. Recruiters agree that women graduates seem more mature, focussed and better prepared for interviews and assessments. And my colleagues in careers guidance and coaching tell me the same.
While men are often more self-confident – cocky even – they don’t necessarily have a lot of self-awareness and many don’t respond to feedback as positively as women do either. Not many men suffer from “imposter syndrome” like women yet male underachievement is an increasing phenomenon, and not just amongst undergraduates.
An affluent society and slacker lifestyles have been blamed but psychologists point out that typically men have a wider range of performance with extremes – either brilliant or lazy, whereas women’s performance tends to be more in the mid-range with the result that they are often more sensible and industrious.
The only good news amongst this for men is that those male graduates who can get jobs will be getting an an average of £2,000 more than female graduates.
So lads get a grip! Sort yourselves out or you’ll be left even further behind
Updated 14 July 2010: BBC News reported that Jaguar had 3,700 applications for 80 graduate jobs, and that JCB had doubled the number of graduate vacancies from 6 to 12!
Many students said that they were continuing with their education because they couldn’t get jobs. More debt?