Study not tuned to jobs say agencies
Employment agencies say many tertiary students are failing to choose study that will lead to viable job options, and many will leave unsure of job prospects, heavily indebted, and with little clue about what next.
Manpower NZ recruitment general manager Matthew Love-Smith says graduates are failing to shape their study to the demands of the job market, and need to make decisions early on about where they want study to take them.
‘‘Students working through the education system need to be really well informed about what the needs are of the New Zealand industry, and tailoring their education towards that. That decision making needs to happen way before varsity,’’ he says.
‘‘When we look at the top 10 skills in demand, they tend to be engineering, skilled trades, technicians,’’ he says, but less than 5 per cent of graduates will be in engineering.
University of Canterbury’s most recent survey on graduate destinations found 70 per cent of qualified students walked into some kind of employment.
But while almost threequarters said they chose a course of study because they wanted to pursue a career in the field, less than half of the employed worked in their ideal career.
A third felt they were taking a step in the right direction, and one in five were treading water, in employment that they felt was irrelevant to their desired career.
Those graduating in the creative arts had a particularly hard road ahead. Of those who studied visual or performance arts, just a quarter had found full time work a year after graduating, and more than a quarter were unemployed.
For those seeking arts careers, competition is high: according to Careers NZ, there were just 166 historians employed in 2012, along with 261 actors, and 105 film directors.
A 2011 Ministry of Education study found only two-thirds of doctorate students would be employed in New Zealand four years after completing their qualification.
Doctorate students did, however, have a median income 50 per cent higher than those with a bachelor’s degree. Those graduating this week are likely to earn more than their peers who do not hold a qualification.