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Graduates look abroad for work

by Tim Webster August 31, 2011

It’s been well documented in the press that there’s a widespread feeling of doom and gloom in the graduate job market at the moment, even if it isn’t entirely justified. The graduate team at FreshMinds has had a huge 6 months so far in 2010 with demand for bright graduates soaring, so we’re not quite sure whether the nation’s top grads should actually be fearing the worst.

In any case it seems they are. A recent survey by High Fliers Research revealed that just 36 per cent of final-year students expect to find a graduate job after leaving university this summer, which represents a fifteen year low.

So what are they planning to do instead? Well it seems a good number have set their sights on teaching English abroad. With such high demand for English teachers around the world, there’s no shortage of opportunities and one TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) course provider, i-to-i, has just announced a 22 per cent surge in student enquiries over the past three months.

One of their students, about to graduate from Nottingham University, commented: “Asia in particular provides so many opportunities to teach abroad and certain countries such as China and South Korea will be crucial in terms of the world economy later on, so it’s exciting to think that we can get involved in that.”

My advice to graduates would be not to write off the job market too hastily simply due to negativity from the press – if you’re really struggling to find a job then a year’s English teaching in some far-flung place is sure to be time well spent. But there’s a risk you’re just postponing the inevitable – 2011 is equally unlikely to be a bumper year for graduates, and it’s not going to be easy doing the milkround from a remote classroom on the other side of the world.

Don’t forget that FreshMinds offers Interim work for graduates - which is a great way to put solid experience on you CV whilst you are looking for something more permanent.

Tim Webster is a consultant on our Graduate Team

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