Brexit spells trouble for graduates

If you are anything like me, you are probably sick of Brexit. For two years now it has been in every news bulletin and headline, spreading fear and concern among many in the UK.

One group of people who should be particularly concerned about the deal that the UK strikes with Brussels is students.

It just so happens that if you are set to graduate in 2019, Britain will be leaving the EU just as you begin to hunt for jobs.

The high level of uncertainty surrounding Brexit means that employers may be holding back on hiring until it is clear what the post-Brexit landscape looks like. That’s bad news for recent graduates.

Of the top 100 graduate employers, most had downgraded their graduate employment schemes, and in the private sector companies cut almost 10 percent of their graduate employment opportunities in 2017.

Among the worst hit are those looking to pursue careers in the finance sector, where graduate employment numbers fell 17 percent in 2017.

There is, however, another way to look at this. With a lack of clarity around the futures of EU citizens working in the UK following Brexit, there may be an outflow of EU professionals once we leave.

47 percent said that they had considered leaving the UK and going to work in mainland Europe. This could make room for UK graduates.

UK businesses are having trouble hiring trained engineers, IT workers and accountants, and with this potential exodus of EU workers, the skills shortage could get even worse.

Phillip Hammond doesn’t seem too concerned with the future state of the labour market following Brexit, saying in Washington last Friday that a potential haemorrhage of city jobs had been averted following progressions in the discussions with the EU.

In reality, it is very hard to predict how the UK jobs market will look after Brexit.

The best that students can do is hope that the deal the UK strikes with the EU is one which allows UK businesses to continue without too much disruption or loss of trade, and one which does not drastically change the demographics of professionals working as skilled labour.

Students are having to do more than ever to make them as employable as possible. With an uncertain future for businesses, good graduate jobs are becoming a highly sought-after luxury.

If there is any advice for students worrying about graduate jobs, it would be to try to get experience beforehand.

Summer internships are a great way of doing this. Usually, about 8 weeks long, and mostly paid, internships give students industry experience, and make a candidate vastly more employable.

It is certainly something to consider doing if you hope to do well following graduation.

For the sake of sacrificing a few weeks of summer, you could gain valuable experience in the industry you might want to work in. Employers will see that you show real interest in the career you wish to pursue.


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Matthew Denton

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January 2022
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