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What do graduates do?

In this video, Helen Kempster explains the options available to graduates in the labour market, and discusses three key facts it's important to know.
Hello, and welcome to the third and final week of this Prepare For Career Success at University course. This week, the question we’re aiming to answer is where and I heading? We’ll be looking at the graduate labor market, the different options that are available for graduates, and the types of jobs available. We’ll then look at what all of that means for you. So what kind of jobs are available to graduates? The short answer is almost anything. There are hundreds of different roles across a variety of sectors. What you choose will depend on your skills, values, and interests that you could tell already in this course.
It will also depends on the subject that you studied and perhaps on any experience that you’ve already gained. So we’re now going to look at three important facts that it’s good to bear in mind when you’re thinking about the graduate labor market and your options after university. The first fact is that there isn’t necessarily a link between what you study at university and what you then go on to do, that is to say you’re not limited to jobs that seem to relate to your subject area.
So for example, that’s why you get history graduates that go on to be accountants, politics, graduates that might go to work in finance, science graduates that may go to work in marketing, and a variety of other things. The reason that that’s possible is because of the transferable skills that they’ve gained from studying their degree and from the other experiences that they gained. So once again, it comes back to the skills development. Through any degree programs, students would have gained skills such as teamwork, communication, also the kind of drive, resilience, motivation to continue through their studies. And those are the kind of skills that employers will be looking for in any sector.
The second thing that we know about the graduate labor market is that work experience is key. A recent survey by top graduate employers by High Fliers show that over half of them said that graduates with no work experience will be extremely unlikely to be offered a job with their organization. And why is that work experience so important? Well, once again, it comes back the idea of skills. Employees believed if you demonstrate particular skills in the past that you’ll be able to do so in the future. And there’s no better way of having evidence for these skills than having experience, work experience that you could talk to them about.
Ideally, that work experience would be in a field that’s related to the job that you want to go into, but not necessarily, because experience gained in any field is important, because as we know, the skills that you gain are transferable. The third fact that it’s important to know about the graduate labor market is that there are lots of different types of roots for graduates to go into. Many people think of traditional graduate programs or graduate schemes when they think about graduate jobs. These are with large employers who take on large numbers of graduates. But only about 10% to 15% percent of graduates actually go onto these schemes. So what are the rest of them doing?
Well, a big chunk of graduates will be going into simply what we might call a graduate job. So this is not part of a formal graduate program or scheme. But it is still a job where their degree is required and valued and where they’re developing their skills and getting training to continuing in their career. Another portion of graduates will be working for themselves on a self-employed or freelance basis. And that’s particularly common in the creative and cultural industries. Another option is post graduate study. This could be in one of two categories, either professional or academic. Professional postgraduate studies is usually aimed at training for a particular profession, such as law, accountancy, social work, or teaching.
An academic root would be looking more in depth at things you studied in your first degree. So for example, if you studied English, you could be looking at the literature from a particular region, for example. A final option that, of course, is open graduates, is simply to take some time out after your studies, maybe to travel or to volunteer. This could be really good option for you, but you need to think about how you’re going to fund it. So to put all that into context a bit more, we’re going to look at some examples of typical paths that graduates might take. And I’m going to use four example graduates to kind of illustrate different career paths.
Our first example is John. John studied a degree in journalism. And through his degree he became really interested in investigating and researching stories. He also became really interested in digital journalism and the impact that the digital world has on our lives. And in particular through that he became instead in the impact of advertising and marketing on us. So now he works in advertising using those digital channels to help companies to sell their products. Our second example is Sarah. Sarah studied an English degree where she developed a real love of literature and producing creative writing. Sarah decided she wanted a career that involved working with words.
So she got a job as an assistant editor at a company where she’s proofreading business and financial reports. Sarah would like to combine her love of words and literature and get a job as an assistant editor in a fiction publishing company. Our third example is Becky. Becky studied a criminology degree, and through that she became really interested in criminal law. She looked at her career options and decide that being a lawyer was the right root for her. She went on to take post graduate study, the graduate diploma in law, which will enable her to qualify as either a solicitor or a barrister in the future. She decided that she’d like to become a solicitor specializing in criminal law.
Our fourth and final example is Mike. Mike’s studied a degree in the history of art and now works as a genie developer for a financial technology company. Now, there may not seem like much of a link between what Mike studied and what he does now. But what he says is the skills he gained during his degree were really relevant to his work as a developer. That’s because coding and programming is all about solving problems creatively. And that’s exactly what he learned on his history of art degree. Once again, we can see how a skill that’s learned in one context is transferable to another.
So that’s the initial introduction to the graduate labor market and the paths and options that are open to graduates. Throughout the rest of the last week of this course we’re going to be looking at those issues in a bit more detail. We’ll be thinking about how you can research your own career options. And we’ll also be looking at various levels of decision making that can help you think about how to make those important decisions about your future. I really hope you enjoy the rest of this final week of the course. It’s been really fantastic learning alongside you and taking part in your discussions. Thank you very much for taking part in the course.
I really look forward to hearing your feedback, and wish you all the best for the future.

This video will give you an insight into the types of options available to those graduating from university in the UK. You will also learn some important facts about the graduate labour market and hear some case studies of recent graduates.

Pay special attention to the case studies highlighted in the video. Do any of these appeal to you?

If you are located outside of the UK, your national context for jobs may differ in some ways or in some professions. Does the labour market for graduates different where you are, and if so, how?

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