You may think there will be too much competition for jobs advertised in national publications, but think again.
One of my colleagues recently heard from an SME (that’s a small or medium sized enterprise – generally an organisation employing less than 250 people) who employ chemists and bioscientists. They advertised in the New Scientist at a cost of £7,000.
They had one applicant.
In the previous year, they had only two speculative applications from students looking for work experience – they offered places to both of them.
You just know that postgrads saw the New Scientist ad and thought “nah, there’ll be too many people applying for that for me to stand a chance”.
The big guys
This is in contrast to recent reports from the large employers. The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) who have found that graduate vacancies are down almost 25% on last year. AGR represent the biggest recruiters, the household names who are targeted by thousands of new graduates and postgraduates. The High Fliers survey covers the “UK’s Top 100 Graduate Employers” (as voted for by final year students) – probably not too many SMEs in that group. The average number of applications per vacancy this year, over all sectors, was 44.9.
There are some surprising variations. You’d expect investment banking to top the list (it did, at 101.4 applications for every vacancy) but even “IT & telecommunications” had 66.8 applications per vacancy, possibly because all those computer scientists decided not to apply for investment banking this year after all. What were some of the less competitive sectors? Well, “Accounting & professional services” were down at 14.9 applications per vacancy and the Army had 2 applications for every vacancy.
You may never have heard of most SMEs, but they include many high-tech science and technology companies (such as university spin-outs), specialist consultancies, media organisations and more.
So, as smart postgrads, what’s your new job search strategy going to be?