Turn university careers services into recruitment consultants, urges think-tank

A think-tank has called for an overhaul of university careers services

September 13, 2010

Advice centres should be turned into independent not-for-profit businesses acting as “recruitment consultants” on behalf of students, Demos says in a report published today.

Jen Lexmond, researcher at Demos and lead author of the report, Class of 2010, said: “This generation of graduates faces greater costs to attend university, and fewer employment opportunities when they finish.

“More must be done to support graduates’ transitions into employment or self-employment.”

However, the graduates of 2010 prioritise a work-life balance and the social impact of their job over a high starting salary, research by Demos has found.

Over a quarter of students surveyed said they would turn down a job offer from an employer if the firm had a poor environmental record.

The report argues that universities should play a more active role in helping graduates to find a job that suits their ideals and ambitions.

If careers services were to become not-for-profit recruitment consultancies specialising in graduate positions in local businesses, the move could help reduce graduate unemployment, and graduates would be encouraged to live and work close to their university, thereby promoting local growth, says the report.

Demos also calls for greater use of student and graduate internships to aid the transition from study to the workplace.

Ian Passmore, managing director of student insurance specialist Endsleigh, which published the report on behalf of Demos, said: “The good news for graduates is that UK business will always need talented individuals.

“We feel that if that this demand from employers can be harnessed more effectively through enhancing existing university and college careers services, future students could be leaving higher education with greater confidence and a clearer career path ahead of them.”

hannah.fearn@tsleducation.com

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