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The unrealistic expectations of grad roles?

Since publishing my first blog post a week ago, I have been overwhelmed by the support it has received! I am so beyond chuffed as I really didn’t expect many people to read it at all! So thank you!

In terms of blog topics, I’ve had a few ideas in the pipeline but as quite a few people enjoyed the grad subject I felt I wanted to continue it as a sort of ‘series’. However, I’m also keen for this blog to be about more than just my life as a grad so you can definitely expect more topics in the future! Also thought I would mention I’ve decided to write and post weekly on Sundays. In these uncertain times I really need a focus so I’m looking forward to exploring new topics each week! Now that the admin is out of the way, let’s talk about the unrealistic expectations of graduate jobs.

Since graduating in June, by no means whatsoever did I expect finding a graduate job to be easy. Even pre-pandemic I had heard that the graduate employment rates could be tough. But in the haze of my uni days it was easy to shelve the thought of post-uni life and the even more daunting prospect, agraduate job. In hindsight, this is something I really wish I’d paid more attention to. Whilst no-one could have predicted that we’d be graduating in the middle of a pandemic meaning job prospects and employment are at an all time low, I do still feel there was more I could’ve done in terms of preparing for my post-uni life. (Namely a few less jäger bombs on a Friday night!) With that being said, I also think the high and unrealistic expectations from graduate employers are also a contributor in my struggle of finding a grad job.

Beginning my search for graduate employment wasnothow I’d at all imagined it. During lockdown and writing my diss, scouring job sites for hours and finding next to nothing felt like searching for a river in the Sahara desert. The economy and job market had come to a complete standstill due to lockdown and there was very little I could do about it. During the summer as things started to open up again, jobs slowly started appearing, but this time, with a catch. I was quickly disheartened to find that almost every graduate role wanted at least a year’s experience in the field and quite often more! I was lucky in the sense that I had worked for a company alongside completing my final year studies so had gained some experience but still this was no match for what these fastidious firms were asking for. My hopes of finding a graduate role were quickly diminished as I realised not only the competition butexpectationI was up against. What’s more, the pay for a lot of these roles was unfairly low. Now I’m well aware as a graduate you shouldn’t expecttoomuch for a first salary but lots of these salaries were well below minimum wage! Is this normal for a graduate role? 

One particular graduate job I applied for and received an interview for was one of said below-minimum-wage salaries. Obviously I won’t name names but the expectations and responsibilities of this role were high and would involve a 5 day weekly commute to London… all for just £11k! I was astounded. For entry-level jobs I found that the expectations were extremely high and the remuneration unfavourably low. Did employers think they could get away with this as graduates this year would be particularly desperate to find work? It seemed so. 

Whilst the low pay for these jobs disappointment me, what grappled with me more was the experience expectation they have. I have just spent the last 3 years completing my degree, how am I supposed to have 3-4 years experience in the field as well?! What’s more there is very little chance that someone with 3-4 years experience plus a degree would accept entry level pay! I began to wonder if the pandemic had damaged the graduate job market more than I originally thought.

Upon doing some research I found that some job adverts and requirements are often tailored to a specific person, usually internal, but by law the job role must be advertised. If this is true, it is extremely frustrating for graduates like myself. Seeing roles advertised as “entry level” like these has only discouraged my hopes in job searching. For now I can only hope that as the pandemic progresses things will improve and more reasonable graduate roles will appear! There is light at the end of the tunnel in that not all graduate jobs have such strict experience requirements and I am just focusing on the bad. It is important to stay positive when job hunting as friends and family keep reminding me, but when searching for a job is your sole focus, it is particularly frustrating when you feel like the stakes are unfairly high. 

Is anyone else in a similar position or had a similar experience when for searching grad roles? If so I’d be interested to hear some of your experiences so feel free to leave a comment below!

Thanks for reading

Cappuccino Keeks x

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