Retaliating Recession

February 6, 2013 , by Preethi Ramamoorthy, Leave your thoughts
Retaliating Recession » My Dreams Mag
The R-word is presumably at the tip on every jobseeker’s tongue. The frustration of being unemployed has become a common story for more than 2 million UK residents. But the times are changing, and you just need to be prepared.

When Raj Thapa graduated last July, he did something that nearly 2.56 million UK residents now are desperately trying to do.

The 23-year-old did something that is seemingly getting only tougher day by day.

He found himself a job.

“I thought I was very unlucky to have graduated during the time of peak recession,” he says.

Having graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, Thapa had registered with nearly 30 job search sites, applied for more than 300 vacancies before he landed that perfect job as a software engineer.

The R-word is still a part of discussion between colleagues at the workplace as is between spouses at home and students at universities. The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show that the rate of unemployment has decreased from a 12-year high of 8.4% to 8.3%. But despite this latest decrease, the level of unemployment is still 170,000 higher than what it was at the same point a year ago.

Having the bad luck to graduate in a recession can mark someone’s entire career, as it can lead workers to start careers at smaller firms that pay less. Within the first 10 years of an individual’s career, he or she experiences 70% of his or her overall wage growth. So, if you start low, you won’t grow, on average, as much as those who had the good fortune to be born at a different time.

Where the jobs are

Anna Wiget, a senior recruitment consultant, barely has time to chat as she studies the huge pile of applications before her. Her agency, Morgan Jones Recruitment Consultants, which opened their London branch in 2004, has seen an increase in the number of permanent recruitment of applicants.

Wiget believes that there are jobs still available, despite the increase in number of graduates per job.

“Finance and legal sectors have been experiencing an upward job market trend. There are increased opportunities in the renewable energy and oil and gas industry as well,” she says.

Jobs are also always available in human resource, she adds.

With jobs still available, why is everyone hitting the panic button?

Dr. Wayne Clark, Research Manager at the Career Development Centre at University of Westminster in London, believes that there has been a misrepresentation of statistics.

“According to latest statistics from the labour market, nearly 90% of graduates are in employment, six months after completing their degree,” he affirms.

What should you do?

Clark suggests that visiting your university’s Career Development Centre and making good use of the resources available should be the first step for any student.

“Start thinking of a job in your first year of university and not the last,” he says.

The important part of any job hunt is your previous job experience, which you will have to display and promote in your resumé.

“There are more number of graduates vying for the same number of jobs. This competition is also linked with the higher level of requirement. A degree is not enough. Every company requires more skills and good solid experience, even if it is voluntary,” Clark adds.

Also, one should be ready for relocating.

Thapa moved to Peterborough from London to take up his interview and ultimately his job.

“You should be flexible, ready to move anywhere. Your dream job might not be in the city you’ve grown to like.”

“If you hold an undergraduate degree, take time and finish a postgraduate degree too. The markets will pick up once you are out of university,” he suggests.

Wiget from the recruitment agency says the basic mistake that graduates seem to be making is sending out the same CV or covering letter for every job.

“With numerous job search sites, it is so easy and tempting to just hit the ‘Send/Apply’ button with the same CV. More research should be done about the company, targeting it specifically, showing them that you have genuine interest in their work.”

“Make sure you have a professional email address. Nothing throws your CV away than a comical email id,” she adds as an afterthought.

Graduates should understand that, although the priority may be to get a job at any cost, the worst you can do to your career is take up a job that is not right. Not only will you perform inefficiently, but when the recession ends—and it will— you will be moving in the wrong direction. Take a job that keeps you engaged and motivates you. Otherwise you may be creating more problems than you solve.


Spike up the skills

  • Organisations look at people who are independent. Companies want people who are willing to take up new responsibilities.
  • Job seekers will have to learn new skills. For those who have a resistance to learning new skills, the going will be tough and their chances of landing a job are few.
  • Develop team-work skills. People need to fit into a team to perform in a company and produce results.
  • Youngsters need to step up their communication skills. The standards in companies are going to be higher. A major reason for candidates getting rejected in interviews is the lack of speaking and writing skills.


Surviving Recession

  • If you are graduating from college, seriously consider getting an advanced, graduate degree in a topic or issue or field about which you are passionate. You will come out at a time when the markets are in a better situation. In today’s knowledge-intensive world, a graduate degree is far from wasted education.
  • Don’t be too selective, in terms of functional area or sectors or geographic areas. Be flexible. Then wait out the economic storm, hopefully with a steady income in a brand-name institution.
  • Don’t give up hope. Persist. Treat every interview (that does not result in a job) as a learning, confidence-building experience.
  • Consider potential areas of growth, such as renewable energy, nuclear, sustainability-, carbon-efficiency- and climate-change-related positions in public companies.
  • Don’t panic, look at the bright side, and stay positive.

Photo: Shuttlestock

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