The changing face of graduate career expectations

A lot can happen in three years, especially when world events move quickly enough to emasculate the Celtic Tiger and create grief where once there was optimism.

Three years ago, according to The Irish Times, Irish graduates were the golden generation, looking forward to a lifetime of opportunity and above average earnings.

This year a huge annual survey of students in Ireland, conducted by trendence for gradireland, paints a very different picture indeed. 80 per cent of students say they are concerned about their future, two-thirds would happily consider moving anywhere in the world for work and a third definitely plan to leave Ireland on graduation. They expect to make at least 30 applications to land a job and the whole painful process to last six months.

When it comes to what graduates look for in an employer, job security comes at the top of the list. This is very different to three years ago when most graduates expected to move jobs four times in their first ten years at work. Not, of course, because of redundancy but because the booming economy made job changes and promotion possible.

And finally, students in 2011 expect to earn less in their first job than their counterparts three years ago.

If you’ve read this far, you may well be disappearing under the duvet with a plate of comfort food. But consider this. If so much can happen in the last three years, then so much else can happen during the next three. The trendence survey is a snapshot in time and just as no-one really foresaw the speed of the recession, no-one will accurately foresee the onset of recovery. And, as previous posters have said, there are still graduate jobs around in Ireland and still sectors that are recruiting well. And as my Gran used to say, getting depressed over the future inhibits positive action. Or words to that effect.

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