No-one’s going to try and kid you (well, not at the Careers Service) that recruitment is going to be easy this year, though it’s not all doom and gloom.
First the good news – our major Autumn recruitment fairs are currently still buoyant.
- The Science, Engineering & Technology Fair has no spaces left for employers, and a reserve list of 20 companies waiting for a space (and that’s at Manchester Central, the massive exhibition space in the centre of the city).
- The Finance, Business and Management Fair has 90 exhibitors currently signed up. Naturally this is the one we’re keeping a close eye on, having had a few recent cancellations but we still have other companies coming on board. (You didn’t really expect Lehman Brothers to turn up, did you? Although, they were still sounding positive about their recruitment plans when my colleague visited them over the summer!)
- Our more specialist fairs, the Law Fair and Ethnic Diversity Fair, are still holding their own.
However, there are some worrying but inevitable stories coming out now of talented graduates who had secured their dream jobs in the City, only to be made redundant two weeks in, as the company folded, or who have had their offers rescinded or deferred before they start. (Yes, they can do this. It’s happened before, it will happen again, though I know it’s a hard lesson to learn for postgrads new to the job market.) So far these seem to have been in the companies which have already hit the headlines (Lehman again) or in very specific parts of companies – in some cases the graduates have been offered alternative roles in the company.
If the finance sector is the area you’re most interested in, I’d strongly recommend keeping up to speed with all the news, using the FT, or particularly the student and graduate pages of eFinancialCareers. Their recent articles have covered “So who’s NOT hiring graduates this year?“, “Will banks renege on their offers?” (updated since the original article, given the comments on the article from those who have had offers withdrawn), and “Why you should apply early” (for the few jobs which are around, they might get snapped up long before the official deadline).
We’re not necessarily immune to all this turbulence with local employment in Manchester. On the upside, according to the Manchester Evening News on Tuesday, UBS and Goldman Sachs have been talking about moving some of their back office functions to Spinningfields, following in the footsteps of Bank of New York. However, they also point out that Lehman Brothers had been looking at Manchester as an alternative location, prior to their collapse, so it might just be Manchester’s inward investment team talking things up to avoid outright collapse of the property market – hard to tell.
What we can’t do is tell you who will be the next to pull out of graduate and postgraduate recruitment this year. If we could predict that, we wouldn’t be careers consultants – we’d be earning shed loads of money as financial pundits … though it was an unfortunate coincidence that we sent out e-mails promoting the new HBOS graduate recruitment scheme overnight, given the news that, by breakfast, they’d agreed to a takeover by LloydsTSB. It’s going to be a roller coaster ride this autumn.
UPDATE (at 15:45, 18th September)
In case you haven’t seen the comment below from my colleague, Helen, here’s the latest on the HBOS graduate scheme :
“The good news about the HBOS 2009 grad scheme is… it’s still going ahead! We contacted HBOS this morning and they said it’s “business as usual” as far as their graduate recruitment is concerned so any postgrads interested in finance should still consider applying. As you said “it’s not all doom and gloom”!”