Wednesday, July 24Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Getting a job after university

Current Deputy Editor Louise Jones reports on why you shouldn’t worry about getting a job after university.

It’s that time of year again when finalists finish all their exams and then go into panic mode about their future. However, it has been suggested that waiting until you have graduated before applying for a job will not scupper your chances.

The outgoing head of UCAS, Mary Curnock Cook, warned that middle-class parents and universities have become “too fixated” on careers, placing unnecessary pressure on young people to apply for jobs too soon, suggesting that students should not bother looking for a job until they have graduated.

Instead, Cook states that many students could benefit from some ‘“down-time” by moving back home after their final exams. Choosing to go to university is a “life-changing decision” but can be a disaster if it is not an “informed choice”.

According to The Daily Telegraph article, Ms Curnock Cook further commented that it is about “broadening your horizons,” adding that, ‘“it’s too utilitarian to think you’ve got to go to university and then land a career straight after that. It’s terribly unhelpful.”

“Students may need to take some down-time after the stresses of finals and dissertations. I don’t think there’s any harm in doing temporary, voluntary or non-graduate work to fill the gap before finding something more permanent.”

“You have plenty of time to figure out how to be successful in the workplace, so I think obsession with graduate employment within six months is unhelpful.”

The university admissions leader, who abdicated her role at the end of April, said there was an assumption that university is a “golden thread“ to having a dream career – and was quick to add that young people get the most out of their time at university when studying something which motivates them, as well as being involved with university life and the other accompanying opportunities.

Responding to Ms Curnock Cook’s comments, James Uffindell, founder and CEO of Bright Network careers and recruitment body said that while some respite was sensible, students should not become complacent in their job hunting.

“In an ideal world, six months out is a good idea, however in a competitive jobs market, students need to stay ahead of the game,” he warned.

“At the moment, there isn’t time for students to take time out. They need to take the bull by the horns and use their time at university to explore their options and make connections to avoid being left behind after graduating, not wait six valuable months to get onto the careers ladder.”

Figures released by UCAS in February showed the number of would-be students applying for university had dropped for the third time in 15 years.

Around 30,000 fewer people had applied to start degree courses this autumn by January 15 – the main deadline for submitting applications.

Overall, 564,190 people applied to UK universities and colleges, down 5 per cent from the same point in 2016.

What with the upcoming snap election, this will no doubt put student-related issues under the spotlight as a topic of high interest and something of stressed importance. For more information and statistics head to the