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Naila Missous

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Catch 22

Posted: 14/01/2013 11:40

Now, before we get the omniscient individuals who wag their fingers at us, telling us that opting for a vocational course would have been favourable over a degree that doesn't lead you straight into a job in this current climate: I know. Every single student knows.

Recent figures have shown that for the year 2013 there has been an increase of 6.4% within the graduate market from that of 2012. So that means more jobs, right? Yes and no. Yes because this means more students are not having to opt for unpaid internships or consider more debt inducing further study in order to make themselves stand out more so in the jobs market. No, however, because those lucky few who are getting hired are hired because of previous work experience within those companies. I think it's called dog eat dog.

It has been suggested that if young people really want to see an end to unpaid internships, they must all refuse to work for free whatever their economic background. As someone who has been working for free to build any sort of repertoire in as many fields as possible, and nearing the end of my degree, I can safely say that working for free - for all the praises and few retweets - is really not a choice any more.

However, the refusal to work for free is not really in the hands of graduates or students. If I refused to work for free, I'm certain the employer wouldn't worry too much: there's most probably another student elsewhere who desperately wants to add that brand name to their CV list. Not all students have lazed around during their three years at university; many have built experience in differing sectors, volunteering for charities or groups they didn't see as long term, but rather were interested in the transferable skills they gained.

It is rather a vicious cycle. Plumping your CV with experience doesn't guarantee any success after graduation. Job profiles state that experience is must, but what does experience equate to? One week? One month? A year? It brings into light the idea of networking also; it's about who you know not what you know.

If I am being pitted against someone who is also a humanities major, it doesn't really matter what my module choices were really or what I learnt. We're considered equal in the jobs market. Equally struggling.

 

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