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Open for business? Students’ views on entering the labour market

  • 28 April 2020
  • By Rachel Hewitt
  • HEPI number Policy Note 22
  • Over three-quarters (79%) of graduates feel confident of getting a graduate level job once they graduate.
  • However, when asked about their feelings towards entering the labour market, more (28%) cite anxiety as their number one feeling, ahead of confidence (23%), uncertainty (16%) and feeling overwhelmed by the prospect (16%). Only 14% selected excitement as their primary emotion, leaving just 3% feeling relaxed.
  • Only around a third (29%) say the Coronavirus pandemic has altered these feelings, with 71% saying their feelings have not changed since the crisis.
  • Students define employability as being related to their skills: either gaining skills relevant to a specific role (68%) or more generally gaining skills for future employment (67%). Work experience is also seen as important (61%).
  • Students think there are four main factors that make for a successful career: doing something they are interested in (49%), being happy and fulfilled (48%), having stability (47%) and having a high salary (41%).
  • Almost two-thirds (64%) have a specific career in mind for when they graduate, compared to 18% who do not and 17% who are unsure.
  • Around three-quarters (72%) intend to go into a career directly related to their degree subject.
  • Two-thirds (35%) intend to spend one to two years in their first role. Around a quarter (24%) intend to spend over three years, compared to 19% who intend to spend two to three years, 18% who will spend six months to a year and just 3% who intend to spend less than six months.

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