Study highlights gloomy prospects for graduates

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The Independent Online

Life will not necessarily be a bed of roses for those graduates lucky enough to find a job during the recession, according to a major study published today.

Two surveys during the past week have highlighted the gloomy prospects facing graduates leaving university this summer - predicting there will be 24 per cent fewer jobs than in 2008.

Now a third research project highlights the “misery culture” faced by those in employment - where their creativity is stifled and employers turn a deaf ear to a any pleas for a better work/life balance.

The survey of 24,500 graduates revealed that one in three graduates are disenchanted with their jobs and believe their employer has not delivered the goods promised to them on employment.

The same number say their bosses have stifled innovation and undervalued their opinions . As a result, they lack confidence in their senior management.

They are also likely to quit for a new employer once the economy revives.

“There is no doubt employers are spoilt for choice in terms of graduate talent this year because of vacancy cuts and increased competition,” said Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the Association of Graduate Recruiters - at whose conference the research will be launched today.

“However, that certainly does not mean they should allow themselves to be complacent or let their graduate development standards drop.

“Organisations which create a ‘misery culture’ for graduates by stifling innovation and progression or ignoring work/life balance risk losing their best talent as soon as there is any sign of an economic upturn.”

The survey also revealed that - while 79 per cent of graduates believed their company had a secure future - only 62 per cent believed the job they currently held was secure.

Those most likely to feel confident were working for utility companies or the armed forces while the least secure were working in recruitment, retail banking or local government.

Those working for smaller organisations - typically employing less than ten people - said their employers had the most regard to work/life balance issues and allowing their employees to work flexitime.

Mike Hill, chief executive of Graduate Prospects, which carried out the research in conjunction with the AGR, said: “Graduates have the ambition to drive the UK economy forward but what we’re hearing is that some employers may be holding them back.

“If we want our graduates to be the successful business leaders of the future, we must take the process of their growth seriously.”

The survey, which included interviews with graduates working for more than 130 different companies, that those who had taken part in a proper graduate training scheme with their company were more likely to have job satisfaction than those that had not.