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Six in 10 graduates 'underemployed'

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Six in 10 (60%) 2013 and 2014 graduates consider themselves underemployed or working in a job that does not require a degree, according to research from Accenture Strategy.

The 2015 UK Graduate Employment Survey also found that 84% of 2015 graduates expect to receive formal training in their first job, but only 72% of 2013 and 2014 graduates reported that their employer provided such opportunities.

“This year’s graduates are highly resourceful in making themselves relevant to employers,” said Payal Vasudeva, managing director of Accenture Strategy.

“They expect good work opportunities and employer provided training, but many remain underemployed and dissatisfied with their work situation," she added. "As a result, a large number aim to return to university or college to position themselves for better jobs."

Vasudeva continued: “Graduates are willing to invest further to secure better work or make trade-offs to find work with employers with a more conducive culture.

“Employers who fail to create career development programmes and a clear path for advancement are missing a tremendous opportunity to attract and retain top talent."

Accenture suggests five recommendations for employers wanting to strengthen their entry-level talent pipeline:

Digitise the talent pipeline

Employers should invest more in digital channels to attract entry-level talent and differentiate the recruitment experience.

Recast entry-level talent

Six in ten (63%) 2015 graduates expect to stay with their first employer for three years or more. Employers should offer entry-level employees challenging work and a culture of growth and advancement.

Bolster broad based development opportunities

Almost two-thirds of 2015 graduates (65%) are looking for on-the-job training from their employers and about half (47%) expect formal learning experiences.

Invest in the employee experience

Organisational culture is important. The top two concerns for 2015 graduates are fears over work/life balance (39%) and being overworked (38%). Most graduates would accept less pay to work for a company with a good social atmosphere.

Engage talent early

Of the 71% of 2015 graduates who participated in internships, six in ten (61%) say that it led to a job post-graduation. Internships, apprenticeships and co-ops help employers access high-quality talent and determine if they are a good cultural fit.