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Graduation day job

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The average graduate stays in their first job for just 18 months, a study has revealed.

A study of 2,000 graduates who have finished university within the past ten years found that fears they had chosen the wrong career, or simply not getting on with colleagues, meant they handed in their notice after just a year and a half in the job. One in five of the 42 per cent who have already left their first job admitted they quit within the first six months.

But while 40 per cent said not being able to progress up the career ladder was their reason for leaving, 15 per cent realised they had chosen the wrong field of work altogether. Another 14 per cent admitted their first job was a role which had no relevance to the degree they had studied, while a quarter just didn’t like the company. 15 per cent simply didn’t get on with others they were working with.

A third, 33 per cent, claimed that if they had the choice again they would still go to university and study the same degree, while 22 per cent would opt for a different degree altogether.

Nearly a fifth said that if they had the choice again, they would not go to university at all and instead do professional qualifications or on-the-job training but 13 per cent would cover all bases; go to university and do professional qualifications alongside.

Quentin Crowe, managing director of The Marketers’ Forum which commissioned the research, said:

”After spending several years studying for a degree, it can be daunting to suddenly be under pressure to do something with it and get a job.

”And it seems that some could be rushing into a job or even a career which isn’t right for them or they aren’t properly qualified for.

”So because of this, many are then forced to look for another role within months, or sometimes even weeks of starting a new job.

”The research sends a stark message to young people about to finishing their A levels. Be absolutely certain about their university and degree choices and, if not, explore wider options now to avoid disappointment three years down the line.

”It’s worrying to think that so many graduates are ending up in a job they aren’t happy in after all of the work they have put in studying over the course.”

The study also found that six in ten of those who left their first job worried that leaving too soon would look bad on their CV, with a fifth of people staying longer in a job they weren’t happy in to avoid it. The average graduate reckons that nine and half months is enough time in a job to wait before you consider moving on.

Researchers also revealed that the average graduate will wait just over seven months before securing their first job, with one in twenty even having to make do with part-time work for TWO years or more. During that time, graduates apply for an average 15 jobs in the hunt for their first role. 48 per cent put the wait down to a lack of jobs around at the time, but 29 per cent found that employers were looking for industry specific qualifications as well as a degree.

However, a third of graduates admitted they were waiting so long because they were holding out for their dream job – turning down an average of two jobs before getting their dream role. Worryingly, 43 per cent of people admitted to taking on a job they didn’t really want because they had simply reached a point where they needed to take on any work they could get.

The study also revealed that almost 40 per cent of graduates feel their current job isn’t at all related to their degree; just one in five say their current job is their dream job. Forty-two per cent even claimed that their degree didn’t prepare them enough for the world of work.

Quentin Crowe of The Marketers’ Forum added: ”Our advice is to think twice about university and explore other options first.

”In response to this and other research, The Marketers Forum is introducing a new course, Professional Marketing and Management for Business (PMMB) as alternative to university for individuals looking for a fast track, cost-effective head start into a rewarding career.”

For more details, go to The Marketers’ Forum website, or call them direct at 0844 272 5852.



After spending several years studying for a degree, it can be daunting to suddenly be under pressure to do something with it and get a job.

Quentin Crowe, managing director of The Marketers' Forum



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