Have all the good jobs gone already?

So, you’re in your final year. You haven’t got a job lined up yet.  Have you blown any chance of getting a decent job sorted before you graduate?iStock_000003861564Medium Time panic


With all the frantic activity of the autumn recruitment round and the graduate fairs, you would be forgiven if you thought all the “good” graduate jobs had already been scooped up and you’d been left behind. However, that’s just one of the many myths of the graduate recruitment market.

Here are some facts

  1. To set your mind at rest
  2. To give you ammunition to ward off worried family and friends bugging you over the holidays
  3. To help you plan your next step.

Employers recruit graduates all year round

Here’s what has happened, year after year, on CareersLink. This counts all the adverts we receive for full-time jobs, each month.


Yes, this shows lots of adverts for jobs in September and October – but the highest number of adverts each year is normally around May/June, just in time for all our finalists graduating. (You’ll also be pleased to see that the number of jobs we’re asked to advertise to you has gone up every year since 2010 – so much for “no graduate jobs”.)

And don’t believe any scare stories which sometimes appear in the media over Christmas, about the big fall in jobs being seen at universities – er, it’s called Christmas. Only Santa recruits at Christmas! Everyone else waits until January (as the graph shows).

But are they all “graduate jobs”?

Well, they wouldn’t be advertising at the University of Manchester if they didn’t want graduates … (these figures don’t include all the part-time jobs and volunteering opportunities on CareersLink).

To be fair though, a lot of the high profile corporate and public sector “graduate schemes” advertise in September and October for jobs which start the following year. If you haven’t applied for these yet, you may very well have missed out on some of the most competitive jobs for next year.

However, although these “fast track to management” programmes are great jobs if that’s what you want, it’s only a small part of the graduate job market.

I reckon there are only about 30,000 of these schemes each year (not including vocational jobs like doctors, nurses, teachers etc) and there are over 300,000 new graduates produced in the UK each year.

Most of these graduates go into other good jobs*, often with smaller organisations, or in one-off jobs with large employers which aren’t necessarily called a “graduate scheme” or “training programme” – and these jobs get advertised all year round.

* We know because every university has to ask its graduates what they are doing, 6 months after graduating. The government publishes these figures every year and in spite of what you might read in the press, most graduates are in “managerial, technical or professional” jobs at that point.

What next?

Don’t feel downhearted if you haven’t got one of those 30,000 graduate scheme jobs already lined up.

For starters, here are just a few of the jobs recently posted on CareersLink, all due to start after you graduate, many of them in autumn next year:

  • a starter role in merchandising for Arcadia (any degree)
  • a marketing research graduate to work in a fast-growing agency in Manchester’s Northern Quarter (any degree)
  • an engineering trainee with the BBC (relevant technical degree)
  • technology and operations graduate post for a Hong Kong bank (any degree)
  • an intelligence analyst in fraud investigations for HM Revenue and Customs (any degree)
  • Head Office graduate role for Dixons Carphone (any degree)
  • Diplomatic Service, HM Government (any degree)
  • supply chain graduate at Warburtons (wide range of degrees – don’t know if you get to meet the Muppets though)

Beyond CareersLink, try our Grad JobSearch for hundreds of other current job vacancies.

Break it down into small steps

Rather than panic about all the things you should have done, make it easier on yourself by having a look at our “three essential actions for final year students“.

We’ve broken it down into 3 phases, so start out with the “December to May” actions, though you can always back track and catch up with anything you might have missed out from September to November.

You could still leave your degree with a job in hand and the prospect of the summer off, with a well paid job waiting at the end of your well-deserved holiday.


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