Historically, you would come out of university and fall into your chosen career. Simple. Then, greater numbers of students went to University and competition for jobs became fiercer. Graduates were pitted against one another in near gladiatorial battles using the recruiters weapon of choice – assessment centres. But what about now? Yes, the arenas are still running and the screams of underprepared graduates can be heard in the wind, but something is different. The recent economic crisis has changed the face of business across the world, including graduate recruitment.
A graduate scheme must be a good idea if everyone is trying to get on one.
Well, you’d have thought so, but with so many big and well established businesses going into administration, you do have to ask yourself how safe a graduate scheme is. The recent news of HMV, Jessops, Comet and Blockbuster going into administration add to a list of names that fill any high street. These closures alone account for 17,000 jobs and 1203 shops in a time when 1 in 10 shops are reported to be empty. Why is this so? Well, if you believe the poster put in the window of the Liverpool branch of Jessops, it was people shopping online that closed them. Many companies are not flexible enough to keep up with the changing attitudes of consumers which leaves them vulnerable to losing the good will and market share they have built up (in the case of HMV for 90 years).
So what is safe?
If you are looking at retail, you might like to think about how strong the online and convenience end of the business is – for example, in the case of supermarkets, Morrison’s does not have a home delivery service or online shop (apart from baby and wine). Look at who is left on the high street – a plethora of coffee shops and tactile businesses. Clothing, jewellery and shoes. People still want to try these before they buy them which makes them a much more secure offering. But you also might like to consider a small, local business. Kent is made up of 97% small and medium sized businesses which are able to offer a significant level of experience to new graduates. The era of big business is not over, but it is not quite the safe haven it once was.
When choosing your first graduate job, you need to be sure that it is something that you want to do – longevity is not so much of an issue now as people change their companies and industries on a very regular basis. But thinking about the health and strength of a business might help you to choose a company that will still be trading after your training has finished.