The internet has emerged as the top source of information for graduate jobs and postgraduate places amongst final year students who have already secured positions. In second place is work experience with students returning to companies following internships during their studies. For many students, however, that all important career planning is still some way off despite graduation looming.
According to a new report from Graduate Prospects, just a fifth, 19 per cent, of current final year students had started their career planning before the start of their final year; and while around a third, 38 per cent, planned to start in the autumn term, around one in ten, 11 per cent, claimed they preferred to leave it until after they had graduated this summer. Five per cent of final year students intend to leave it later still and will not start job hunting at all until after a summer break.
Highlighting these changing job hunting trends, of the ten per cent who had planned ahead and secured a graduate job or postgraduate place by the start of their final year, 24 per cent had sourced the relevant information about the position from the internet; and around a fifth,19 per cent, had secured a position through a work experience placement. The more traditional route of careers listings and vacancy bulletins was used by just 15 per cent, and ten per cent sourced a position through careers fairs. Other routes included employer on-campus presentations, five per cent; and specialist careers magazines, also five per cent.
Despite an initial reluctance by some to get going, 65 per cent of final year students claim that they knew what they want to do career wise by the time they had reached their final year - just one in three was still undecided.
The public sector emerged as the top career choice with 26 per cent of final year students claiming they will head towards jobs in public administration; 15 per cent will chase jobs in business services; 14 per cent in banking and finance; and 11 per cent in education.
One in five are planning to take a postgraduate course and of these, 37 per cent claim that the course is to enhance their employment prospects; thirty per cent claim it is to pursue an interest in a particular subject whilst 46 per cent need a postgrad qualification for their chosen career.
The internet appears to have made a dramatic impact on the way students source all employment information. It emerged as the most used source for news about jobs - eighty per cent of final year students citing this compared to newspapers at 51 per cent.
When asked to nominate which information source they found most useful, the internet again scored highest with 44 per cent of final year students. This was followed by Careers Services vacancy bulletins at 19 per cent. Over four fifths, 83 per cent, of final year students claim they use the internet every day and 14 per cent every two to three days. The majority, 86 per cent, of final year students, have access through their university while 63 per cent have the internet at home.
Email would appear to be the main emerging trend in publicising jobs, 54 per cent of final year students receive information on careers or jobs by email and two thirds, 66 per cent, would consider this channel in the future. Despite widespread ownership of mobile 'phones, however, just ten per cent would consider receiving job information by text.
Mike Hill, chief executive of Graduate Prospects, said:
'The unstoppable power of the internet is impacting on every aspect of graduate recruitment. It is embraced fully by students as a resource for careers advice and job hunting, and savvy recruiters are making it work for them by harnessing the power of online activities such as prospects.ac.uk's live careers chats.'
The research involved 1000 face to face interviews across 24 universities. Research was conducted between 25 October and 6 December 2004 amongst final year students.