Recently it seems that I've been reading nothing but stories about how degrees are worthless and that the job market for new graduates is terrible. Today, from the paper of record:
Employment rates for new college graduates have fallen sharply in the last two years, as have starting salaries for those who can find work. What’s more, only half of the jobs landed by these new graduates even require a college degree, reviving debates about whether higher education is “worth it” after all.
The people profiled in the article aren't the only ones struggling. I have tons of friends (subtle brag) who either graduated last summer, or are about to graduate this summer, and have few, if any, job prospects. I'm one of them.
So is the economy to blame? Partly, sure. It's a hell of a lot harder to walk into a £30k a year job straight after graduation than it was in 2006. Any foray into the job market will likely mean competing either with literally hundreds of other graduates, or people with 5 years of experience who have been laid off recently. And if you just want to earn some spare change while you look for your REAL career, say, as a temporary receptionist, you're competing with over 80 other people for one spot. Good luck!
But why should anyone hire me over anyone else? Are my grades that much better? No. Do I have incredible work experience that gives me social proof and is a clear indicator that I know what I'm doing? No. Do I have high-value skills that no-one else has? No.Sure, companies are still hiring people, but you have to be exceptional to cut through the swathes of candidates with identical CVs and land that coveted graduate scheme role. Are you exceptional? I know I'm not. Fuck it, if you were really brilliant, you wouldn't even have a CV.
So what's the solution? I'm not sure, because I'm one of the unemployed people at the moment. But from stealing the ideas of people smarter than I am, I can guess it has something to do with:
I'm having trouble finding a job at the moment, and it's because I haven't done any of these things. None of these have any barriers to entry: if you want to learn to program, there's probably a thousand different sites to teach you how. If you want to start a company, the government will walk you through the process. It costs nothing to send an email to someone you admire and offer to work for them. The only barrier to entry is having the motivation and the desire to try something different, to challenge yourself, to follow a difficult path without knowing exactly where you will end up.
Or there's always law.