Job Expectations Of New University Graduates

Welcome to the TBSC Consulting Blog.

The end of the university year has arrived and a new crop of university graduates is entering the job market. Over the past month TBSC has had the opportunity to do two informal surveys among graduating students about their expectations as they enter the job market. This and subsequent postings will show some results from those surveys along with our (TBSC’s) interpretation of the facts.

Note that the surveys should not be considered to be statistically valid from a frequentist perspective. On the other hand, as management consultants and Baysian statisticians – having to make business decisions based on less-than-perfect information – our belief in what the results indicate increases due to the survey. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayesian_probability).

If you truly understand the previous paragraph then contact us about a job.

Before we get to the results, let me share some of my own thoughts about new university graduates in Georgia. When I came to Georgia nearly 11 years ago the situation with university graduates was very different than the situation today.

  • Today there is a good supply of well qualified graduates in some important subjects; that was not the case 11 years ago when there were many fewer well qualified graduates
  • The possession of a university degree today is a credible measure of actual learning; having a university degree 11 years ago was not a credible measure of learning
  • Today there is a good supply of well qualified graduates with degrees in business and law; 11 years ago and today there continues to be a chronic shortage of graduates with technical and engineering degrees.

If you have a technical or engineering degree and a business orientation contact us about a job. You get the point.

It Is Very Good To Know How To Market And Sell Widgets (a business issue), But A Shame To Not Know How To Produce Widgets In The First Place (a technical and engineering issue)

Such is the state of the new crop of graduates. On the positive side it appears that the university student financing schemes are reacting to this situation.

So if most graduates are in business and law, what are their expectations about their first jobs?

The Financial recently published (June 27, 2011) an article about the Dream Employers of Georgian Business School Students. I was struck by how nearly all respondents expressed interest in prominent companies or brands (i.e., names that are in the minds of nearly all Georgian students), including many not even present in Georgia (e.g., Amazon). I did not see a single mention of a company that could be considered to be below the radar (i.e., that would reflect some work by students to find good employers). To the end, I felt as if the students were more influenced by media-prominence than by any specific knowledge of the employer. This conclusion was reflected in the survey.

A Majority Of Graduates Do Not Work So Hard To Finding The Perfect First Job

Fewer than 40 percent of students said that they had put much or very much effort into looking for a job. This strikes me as odd since a graduate’s first job after university is arguably the most important one of the next ten years and at a time when unemployment rates are high.

However a high percentage of graduates already have jobs (e.g., internships) and they said they intend to stay at those employers. To me this suggests that new graduates are satisficers in the sense that if they have a job that is OK then they will not work particularly hard to find a better first job.

This is reflected in job satisfaction where only 50 percent of graduates said they were somewhat or very satisfied with their current job. Of course the motivation for this could be that the graduates have concluded that there are so few good jobs out there, or that they are so hard to find, that it is not worth investing the time needed to find them.

Of course graduates may feel that there are few good jobs because we, as employers, have done a bad job of explaining things to the students. I exclude the banks and accounting firms from this self-criticism because they seem to have done a good job among students.

Next Time

We also asked questions about wage expectations among graduates and their expectations about the level they will be within companies now, in two years, five years and in ten years. The experts say that blog entries should not be so long, so those will be subjects for a later posting.

Paul