Why It’s Always Worth Applying

aloneYou 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.

Your choice

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?


2 comments on “Why It’s Always Worth Applying

  1. did recession shows impact on human resource jobs. if so , as i student of msc human resource management, what i have to do to secure a job.

  2. Hi Sangeeth

    Sorry for the delay – it’s holiday season!

    The HR sector in the UK has been hit hard, but there are reports of some recovery (from a difficult base) – see recent Personnel Today article, http://www.personneltoday.com/articles/2009/08/11/51748/hr-jobs-market-shows-first-increase-in-six-months.html

    I think any employer advertising an HR entry point vacancy (for new grads and postgrads) today will get flooded with responses – if lots of people know about them. However, the Tesco HR scheme jobs I tweeted about a couple of months ago weren’t on their website or their general graduate publicity. They seemed to have e-mailed selected universities (including us) with the details, and were still looking for applications close to the deadline.

    It may be that more employers will use this targeting to limit the number of applications they have to deal with for popular jobs, so I’d keep a close eye on our vacancies. (You are signed up, aren’t you?! They’re available to view for all our students and alumni – register at http://www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/students/job-huntingandworkexperience/vacancies/)

    Also, any other vacancies I find where they need a quick response, I’ll continue to tweet. Either follow me at http://twitter.com/ManPGCareers or just look on the sidebar on the blog (though you’ll need to keep visiting it to catch them!)

    I’d also be doing whatever you can to get some HR experience (if you don’t already have that) and develop your network of contacts eg. sign up to LinkedIn pronto if you’re not already on there – see my latest tweet for more info.


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