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Young people: Job optimism falls

Optimism amongst students and recent graduates to secure a job in 2018 has significantly fallen from 2017. Magnet.me, UK’s biggest student and graduate careers site, finds1 that Brexit and UK economic uncertainty are two biggest factors causing concern.

  • Only half of graduates and students optimistic about securing a job
  • 22% expect to secure grad roles, others turning to gig-economy
  • Student debt and living costs raise salary expectation

Optimism amongst students and recent graduates to secure a job in 2018 has significantly fallen from 2017. Magnet.me, UK’s biggest student and graduate careers site, finds1that Brexit and UK economic uncertainty are two biggest factors causing concern.

Only half of young people are buoyant about securing a role in 2018. Job optimism has dropped from 65.6% in January 2017 to 53.1% today.

Three quarters (74.5%) cited there were not inspired by UK economic signals, Brexit negotiations or political stability in the UK as reasons for the fall in optimism. Additionally, a third (32.2%) reported that they would leave the UK to find employment in the event on a ‘hard’ Brexit.

Fears of disorderly Brexit negotiations (36.7%) and the state of the UK economy (28.5%) were again the top two reasons causing trepidation amongst young people about job prospects, in much the same proportions as January 2017 (35.5% for Brexit and 28.9% for UK economy).

Moreover, only a fifth of students are confident they will secure a graduate-level job or graduate programme in 2018. Almost a third (29.6%) are contemplating joining the gig-economy until they can secure a job, whilst a quarter (23.2%) will take up unpaid internships to gain work experience.

The average graduate salary2 ranges between £19,000 and £22,000, however, the majority of young people (68.4%) feel they would need to earn at least £27,174 a year to absorb living costs and student debts as they enter working life. One in five (19.2%) felt they needed at least £35,000. Overwhelmingly, 79.5% of students reported that they would forgo their preferred career paths for a better paid job in the short term to manage financial pressures after leaving university.

Vincent Karremans, Founder of Magnet.me commented: “It’s disconcerting that young people will forgo their ideal jobs or careers in the pursuit of better paid jobs just because of financial pressures after university. Student debt and living costs mean they have higher salary expectations which could scupper the ambitions of many young people. Perceptions on how Brexit and the economy are being handled are driving job optimism amongst young people. So, it looks like it will be a rollercoaster ride for the student and graduate jobs market. The Government and employers can do more to provide clarity and confidence to young people as they enter the labour market."


Results are from a Magnet.me user survey (and focus groups) of current students and 2017 graduates conducted during December 2017 and January 2018. 11,871 users responded to the survey conducted online and by e-mail. 
As per analysis graduate jobs and internships posted on Magnet.me