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Job Snobs, Graduates and Spin

There was an interesting article in the Independent last week that was titled “Graduates miss out on employment because they are job snobs” and it got me intrigued.

I then read the article and I thought I could trump that spin-like headline title. It’s been a while (in fact a long while) graduatessince my last Diary of an Employable blogaholic – but I thought that this subject, especially with all this year’s new Grads starting to look for work, provided me with a rather timely opportunity to put pen to paper (fingers to keyboard) and start writing again…

So this is the direct quote from the ‘Too many unemployed graduates are guilty of “job snobbery” by turning down work they consider menial’ article…

“There is an element of snobbery which says, ‘I’ve got these qualifications, I’m too good’,”  said Norman Rose from the industry body the Recruitment society, going on to say “People think because they have a degree or a qualification they should not go for anything other than their line of expertise.”

graduate employmentNow, don’t me wrong. Norman Rose is very entitled to his opinion, and in fact his opinion is to a ‘degree’ (pardon the pun) correct. He is probably the best person in the article to listen to, as his opinion is at least not, as far as we can tell, based on experience of working in the industry.

Stephen Timms, shadow Employment Minister retorted “It’s not fair to accuse young people of job snobbery when youth unemployment is edging back towards a million. Many are desperate for a job, but government programmes are letting them down.”

The government programmes that the opposition oppose because they are not Labour policies – therefore blaming the government rather than addressing the issue. Aka 90 % spin.

Dom Anderson, of the National Union of Students, was a little more levelled in addressing the issue: “Graduates have invested heavily in their studies, both financially and in terms of significant time and effort.

“The desire to prioritise employment in industries connected to the qualifications they have worked hard to gain is entirely reasonable, and it is a sad indictment of the labour market that some graduates are finding a lack of relevant opportunities available to them.”

So who’s right? Well one thing for sure is that the youth employment schemes, aimed at getting the ‘NEET’ generation intoquestion-mark (1) work, aren’t generally working very well.

Young people are more disadvantaged than they used to be in finding work – that’s a fair assumption too.

But there is also, from my experience, a view that some Graduates think that a ‘degree’ = job done. However, that simply isn’t, nor has it never been the case.

Of course there are some degrees (generally vocational courses) that are the expected route to entry for a particular career – nursing, teaching, to name just a couple.

However, somewhere along the line, graduates are often misinformed or ignorant to the fact that a degree is after all, simply a qualification, but not a right to gain a well paid job.

Somehow, I think we all have a responsibility for this.

Firstly, students pay to go to university. Universities have a commercial necessity to make money and get bums on seats – students on their courses. Therefore a call out to students to join their courses – because they ‘might’ get a job, doesn’t sound too attractive does it?

Secondly, career advice during that hazy three or four years, is optional, not a part and parcel mandatory element of course requirements. Why is the ‘planning for after uni’ part not a standard requirement? After all since pre-GCSE level, we are all told, you get good grades, you go to school, you go to college, you go to University, because then you get a good job. But if students are only told this, but not the how to get a good job part – what do you expect?

That’s why we all have a responsibility – not just government ministers, universities, union reps, or those in opposition, of not just continuing to spread spin. Although spin in a sense helps spread a certain ideology, which in itself is a good thing, it’s important too to adopt the mindset of what else, apart from a ‘degree’ certificate, counts in the real world.

It is also only fair to the students who pay £30k plus, that the courses that they attend, better equip them for the real world. £30k plus? – to be mugged off at the end, and treated like spin, isn’t in anyone’s benefit either.

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