The world is your oyster but your future’s a clam…
The Guardian recently reported that 45% final year students (that’s nearly half for those of you who are arithmetically challenged as I am) at the UK’s top universities think that their career prospects are ‘very limited’.
One in six say they would never have gone to university If they had known how tough the job market was going to be, a statistic that suggests that as many students believe their degree is of no value in seeking employment or indeed might even put them at a disadvantage.
And if they do find work they expect to earn less than previous graduates, even as they leave university owing more – on average £17, 900, up from 15,700 in 2009 and £11,600 in 2008.
Meanwhile, David Willetts, the universities minister, says: “The jobs market continues to be very tough for young people, who were among the biggest losers during the recession. We are committed to doing all we can to make it easier for them to find work and realise their ambitions.”
Well, Willetts and his amigos would need to do something quickly, for as David Blanchflower points out, about 40% of the current unemployed are under 25 and the consequences of this will be dire. As Blanchflower explains:
Unemployment hurts. Unemployment has undeniably adverse effects on those unfortunate enough to experience it. A range of evidence indicates that unemployment tends to be associated with malnutrition, illness, mental stress, depression, increases in the suicide rate, poor physical health in later life and reductions in life expectancy. However, there is also a wider social aspect. Many studies find a strong relationship between crime rates and unemployment, particularly for property crime. Sustained unemployment while young is especially damaging. By preventing labour market entrants from gaining a foothold in employment, sustained youth unemployment may reduce their productivity. Those that suffer youth unemployment tend to have lower incomes and poorer labour market experiences in later life. Unemployment while young creates permanent scars rather than temporary blemishes.
Along with job creation, Blanchflower recommends that the government look to encourage young people to see education as an alternative to unemployment. But cuts in higher education will mean that 250,000 young people are going to miss out on a place this year.
And there is more bad news for prospective students. The TUC claims that one in three graduate interns works for nothing. One of the consequences of this is that only young people who have parents who can support them can afford internships.
It’s going to be shit being young, so if it’s any consolation here’s The Jam
You’re fearless and brave – you can’t be stopped when you’re young
You swear you’re never ever gonna work for someone
No corporations for the new age sons
Tears of rage roll down your face
But still you say “it’s fun”
Finally: Here’s a great opportunity for any go-getting postdoctoral young blade out there. It’s at the University of Sussex in its School of Media, Film and Music. It ‘seeks to appoint a 0.1 post-doctoral Research Fellow to play a key role within the Centre for Material Digital Cultures, contributing a substantial personal research portfolio, establishing research and knowledge transfer links with digital media industries, and playing an important role in the preparation of research grant applications. The post-holder will also be expected to provide doctoral supervision where appropriate. You should have a PhD in a relevant area, the ability to make significant independent contribution to the design and execution of research, and close knowledge of digital media industries and their working practices.’
That’s right a 0.1 FTE post. What does that work out as? Half a day a week! Never mind McJobs, this is the first McNugget Job.