Outlook for graduates is bleak

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Prospects for graduates, the latest batch of whom have begun to swell the unemployment register, remain bleak, with a jobless rate of more than 10 per cent, writes Martin Whitfield.

Large companies have continued to trim the number of opportunities following savage reductions in recruitment last year. The finance sector, once the dream of many new graduates, has seen its gloss removed.

National Westminster Bank, for example, which recruited 264 graduates in 1990, has taken on 180 this year while British Aerospace refused to detail its reduction in graduate intake. Places this year are likely to be reserved for sponsored students and trainees.

'My old schoolmates from '88 are driving around in cars with good jobs, having a good time,' said Osman Isik, 22. 'And then there's me, having given so much time on getting qualifications and ended up with nothing.' Despite a good upper second history and politics degree from Manchester Polytechnic, he has not had a 'proper' job since he graduated last year.

His first shock came with the rejection slips to the 50 hopeful letters sent to large employers in advertising and marketing.

A casual telesales job and a spell at the Ideal Homes Exhibition lasted a few months. Since then, nothing, apart from a Graduate Gateway course as part of Employment Training. There are 30 graduates involved, on the 25th such course in his part of London in the past two years.

Going abroad, one option being considered by Mr Isik, has attracted a large number of graduates.

Philip Evamy, 24, who has a degree in estate management from Central London Polytechnic, opted for travel when he looked at the job market on graduation in 1990. Returning two years later after working and travelling in America, Australia, Thailand, China and the Soviet Union, he finds the position has not improved.

'I don't regret going away. It was the best thing I have done but now it is even more difficult looking for full-time work,' he said.

(Photograph omitted)