I really do wish I didn’t have to bear this kind of news, but don’t shoot the messenger. Students thinking ahead to careers need to realise they’re looking at a very, very bleak jobs future. Here’s a summary of some recent Telegraph articles to this effect.
With an ever-increasing number of potential employees holding good degrees, it’s worth noting that the degree is no longer a meal ticket to a good career – rather, it’s the bare minimum and you can still end up in low-paid jobs with a degree. This is particularly the case since the recession of 2007 –>, with some reliable workforce analysts speculating that the UK jobs market won’t recover for nearly a decade-and-a-half. Meanwhile, low- to middle-paid earners (the majority of the population) have seen their share of national wealth (and their prospects of social mobility) fall dramatically in the past few decades: women and those without well-off parents to support them early in their careers have been especially hard-hit.
In one article particularly worth reading in full, it notes that two-fifths of all employees are over-qualified for their job and that, despite a massive skills shortage in the UK, employers still feel there is a poor match between the skills of candidates and jobs available. Depressingly, even being very qualified can leave you without a post, even after lots of successful career experience – the moral of the story here is that qualifications are the bare minimum for success, and you will also need to be able to market yourself well to potential employers. Soft skills like salesmanship, personability, and initiative are critical: the world is not waiting to give you a job – you have to go after it yourself.
On the brighter side, here’s a lovely short slide show of ten major growth industries for the next couple of decades – careers you should really be considering as a student now.
Let’s be blunt: you’re in competition with your peers. For university places, for apprenticeships and internships, and for jobs – and you will be for years to come. If you’re better informed and prepared than them, you can and will do better; if they’re better prepared and informed than you, you should worry.
It’s cruel to say it but consider this:
This is an advantage to you over your peers / competitors in other schools around the globe… but only if you USE IT. Come and talk about Careers, and start planning well, and early.
DIAC is the gathering of several international university campuses near Silicon Oasis in Dubai. They have an educational team who are coming to deliver an hour-long presentation to all 6Fs in PSHE on Sunday 25th Sept.
The following week, starting 2nd Oct, is a “Week of Welcome” at all the universities in DIAC. We’re going to be organising a 6F trip of about half a day. The presumption is that it will be opt-out for year 12 (i.e. most of you will come), but opt-in for year 13 (we expect fewer to come as most of you will already be close to making final choices, whereas the 12s will be just starting to think about this.) There will be a small cost to cover the transport.
I’ll introduce the presentation and talk more about the value of going to university open days like this when DIAC visit on the 25th, but it’s worth bearing in mind two things:
- Visiting any university helps get a real sense of how they work and what kind of features you are looking for. This will help guide your future choices even if they don’t include that university itself. Note that most UK-based A-level students will be going on plenty of these days.
- Traditionally, DBS students have not studied at universities in Dubai – but with fees in the UK about to triple-at-a-stroke in many cases – are you absolutely sure you don’t want to consider a local university and staying at home? You don’t need to make this decision now, but you should at least look at and consider local universities. Later in the year you’ll hear a lot more about budgeting and financial planning, and this will come up there.
Letter and more details to follow – watch this space.
Now I’ve horrified you all about the state of the jobs market for your generation – come and talk about it with me. I’m Mr. Drennan, and I’m based in 003.
DBS are opening up “Careers Support Meetings” around the school year for any student wishing to talk about and plan for their future. The meetings are casual, friendly and supportive rather than critical, and confidential if you like.
The three available slots are Tues p1, Weds p3 and Wednesday lunchtime. (Obviously only Sixth Formers “free” at that time can come to the first two.) Each slot is divided into 3 short slots. You book a slot simply by coming down to room 003 and putting your name, surname and year group in any free slot in the sheet on the door. You can book up to three weeks ahead. Or you can just try turning up – there might be a slot available on the spot.
Initially, 6F and 11s will have priority; 10s and below will get support offered later in the year.
You’re not committing yourself to anything by coming, and it could make all the difference to a successful future for you. Come and tell me your plans – or let’s talk about what they might start to be if you don’t yet have any!
This morning I’ve been looking through the recent BBC Careers posts and it’s worth taking a glance at the two that follow. They don’t make the most heartening reading for young people, but that’s all the more reason you should read them.
Start with this analysis about how Marx was right about the flaws of modern Capitalism, how secure middle-class jobs – probably like those your parents hold – are disappearing. (Remember this is the very centrist BBC talking, not some left-wing rag. When they say there are no good jobs left, you ought to worry.)
If it cheers you up after that, read “Dragons’ Den” guru Deborah Meaden’s guide to getting a job in a difficult market. This is aimed at those in their 20s, rather than current school students, but look ahead – could you put yourself in a good position in advance to beat this kind of market?
There is no question that the vast majority of current school-leavers, leaving with good qualifications, face a much sterner task building successful and profitable careers than your parents ever did. Be as prepared as you can!
Oh – and – did I mention you will probably not be able to retire until 70 at the earliest?
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