Young, gifted and… stuck


I just read this article on the Guardian website and the word I can think of is…. Wow. It’s really quite saddening. Something intensified by the fact that it’s nothing new to me. This is fact, nowadays. This is how things are.

Some things these people said really stood out for me. Lizzie Polack, 23, from York talks about how she’s moved back in with her parents. Despite having a biology degree and an MA, she’s started applying for ‘anything I can. It’s not what I was hoping for but any job is better than no job.’

That’s true, and that’s something I’ve said before on this blog. What’s sad is her admission that it’s ‘not what she was hoping for.’ I don’t want to sound like I’m ungrateful for my University experience or for my education – I loved Uni, and I unashamedly love learning – but Uni really does build you up for something that just isn’t necessarily there any more. When you’re doing a degree you honestly feel like you’re on to something, you’re bettering yourself. You’re expanding your mind and your experiences, with the hope of some reward at the end of it. You are built up to be hopeful, and excited about the future. Which is a brilliant thing, in itself – except then you might be confronted with the fact that for you, there isn’t much of a future at the moment. Despite everything you hoped for. Now that’s sad. 

Lizzie also says that she’s been asked in interviews ‘You’re obviously academic, why do you want this job?’ , giving her the impression the interviewers ‘didn’t think a job is good enough for you.’ Now there’s a question! How on earth are you supposed to answer? ‘Yes, I’m academic. I would love to get an academic job. But I want this job because I have very low prospects in terms of entering the field I really want to get into, I need the money, and I will bascially do anything. Oh, and I need the money.’ I’d have to bite my tongue not to say that. Maybe employers need to open their eyes too.

Indeed, Tom Mckay says he believes employers are actually discriminating against graduates. It used to be that having a degree distinguished you from others – nowadays can the opposite be true?

After experimenting by submitting two applications for a sales position, one mentioning his degree and the other not, it was the one without the degree that was called for an interview. Employers ‘clearly want someone who is going to be permanent and not constantly be looking for a graduate position elsewhere.’ Which some may say is fair enough to the employers – they are trying to run a business after all. But then surely once the graduate leaves, they’ll be able to fill the position pretty easily. Application numbers are still huge.

Of course I’m not saying that people should employ graduates over those without degrees – I’m just saying they should be considered. Tom said he ‘knows people who are not mentioning they are graduates.’

3 years hard work resulting in something to avoid putting on your CV? There’s something not right with that.


One thought on “Young, gifted and… stuck

  1. Hi Sally,
    Some belated comments on this blog post. I appreciate the need for graduates to get a job,any job,but I can’t help thinking that this government is going to take a lot of unemployed people off benefit and push them into taking low paid work and thus shrink the jobs market even further.This will mean employers will be even less likely to take on ‘over qualified’ graduates. It seems a tragedy that so many graduates have an increasingly reduced chance of fulfilling vocational skills acquired by serious and expensive studying. I think a lot of people considering university must evaluate cost against likely employment prospects which reflect their level of education, possibly deferring university for a few years

    I still think a university education is incredibly worthwhile for it’s own sake,both for the individual and society as a whole. University should be part of the best years, and not beset with worries about debt and job prospects.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s