Data Study

Student Employability in 2022

In our most recent data study, we wanted to understand student perceptions of graduate opportunities post-pandemic and analyse what they value most when considering their first employer.

In a survey of 105 students from 36 universities across the UK, we uncovered the unprecedented importance of company culture, the desire for a hybrid approach to working, and the necessity for students to undertake paid experience to feel confident in their graduate decisions.

Student Timelines

Of the students surveyed, 24% of students began considering graduate opportunities in their first year at University, whilst 34% began considering during their second year. With over half of students (58%) considering their employment opportunities within the first two years of their university experience, there becomes an apparent need to see employers doing more to support students in exploring their career options within the first stages of their experience at university. 

90% of students noted that internship placements were important or very important in deciding their post University career. 53% of students had undertaken an unpaid work placement during their time at University, whereas only 43% of students had undertaken a paid placement, with students highlighting the lack of opportunity to gain paid work placements as a key pain point when approaching a competitive graduate market.

Employers

We asked our student network to consider the most important factors when choosing post-university employment opportunities. Of 105 students surveyed, 52% argued that company culture was the most important factor they considered. With a movement from care-free youthfulness toward value-based consumption now, more than ever, students are looking to explore employment in companies that align with their personalities. 22% noted that salary was the most important factor, and 15% noted that company values were the most important. 

 

Post-pandemic, many companies have adopted a hybrid approach to working giving employees greater flexibility in their roles. 58% of students surveyed would consider taking a job that was fully remote, with 59% of students noting that they felt confident in interviewing for a job via Zoom. 

 

The shift towards a more flexible approach to working encourages companies to offer more freedom, from hybrid working to building company culture, in order to attract graduates. When asked what they would like to change about the current relationship between students and prospective employers, students mentioned that they’d like to see more graduate employers being transparent about the amount of experience and salary expectations for roles.

The Pandemic's Impact

Post-pandemic, students have been one of the most heavily affected demographics – from disruption to their studies through forced lockdowns, to the impact that the pandemic has had upon mental health. In the field of employment, 38% of students mentioned that their career aspirations have changed post-pandemic.

 

The reasons for change spanned various areas, however, the opportunity to explore digital-based careers was a popular response – with students noting the larger proportion of businesses existing online post-pandemic. Students aspired to gain careers that allowed greater flexibility, from opportunities to travel to hybrid working.

 

Following a digital approach to graduate opportunities, the most useful tool that students have found when looking for graduate opportunities have been LinkedIn, Otta and Bright Network – with a vast majority of students mentioning Facebook Communities within their field as a key place they look for opportunities. The power of social networking for employment opportunities gives students the opportunity to connect and learn from industry professionals, of which whom they may not have previously ever had chance to meet – breaking existing social barriers to entry.

Personal Values

We asked our student network what advice that they would give to another student when exploring employment options at University. The most popular answer students gave was to encourage other students to push themselves outside of their comfort zone and try new things. They suggested taking advantage of any work experience opportunities from the beginning of their time at University.

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