The world was hit by the recession in 2008, with some countries hit worse than others, leaving unemployment rates at an all time high. The number of people out of work in the UK in July 2012 was 2.53 million according to the office of national statistics, with the unemployment rate at 7.9%. The number of people claiming job seekers allowance is 1.57 million.
David Cameron has announced a scheme that will force people on job seekers allowance to do community work, “Have we created a benefit system that has insufficient responsibility at its heart? My answer is yes we have, which is why we need to change it” (David Cameron, The Guardian).
Although the UK has had a rough ride over the past five years, other countries within the Eurozone are much worse off, with countries such as Greece and Spain with unemployment rates at 25.1%.
Unemployment is a scary prospect for many students and recent graduates, who have been aware of the recession over the years but haven’t had to deal with the reality of it. Students and graduates across the UK work hard to gain excellent A-levels in order to get into University to gain a respectable degree, with the hope that all their hard work results in a job. However, as many recent graduates will tell you, this is not how the story goes.
The past five years of their life has been work, work, work where they have gained excellent A-levels, gone to university and achieved a respectable degree but instead of it resulting in a job, it has led to nothing. It’s not all bad as many young people are able to gain work experience, where these companies need you as much as you need them? However, there is a catch 22… You can’t get experience without having experience. If they are lucky enough to land and internship or work experience more often than not they will be working for free, but the hope would be that at the end of a three month internship there would be a job at the end of it. This does happen for many people, but it also doesn’t happen for many people, so it’s then back to square one.
Due to the high unemployment rates the competition of getting that one job is fierce. There could be up to 60 people going for one position, and there is always someone with a little bit more edge. It’s all about the edge… thinking of new ways in which you stand out. There are many ways to do this, but you have to think of it first. It’s not enough any more to go to an interview dressed in your smartest outfit and answer a couple of questions you have to shine over and above everyone else. This is what is so difficult with the amount of candidates going for one position the competition is extremely high.
Another shock for students and recent graduates is exploitation. Is it right that companies feel they can exploit students and graduates for free? There are many people looking for internships and placements where the competition is great, and if they manage to obtain one they are offered nothing or next to nothing for expenses and many of these students and graduates do not have the money to travel everyday therefore meaning they are unable to take the internship. It is a vicious cycle. But the fact of the matter is most companies at the moment can’t afford to take on interns, in terms of both time and money, so you can’t blame them for wanting a helping hand around the office.
As discussed unemployment rates in the UK are high and the added pressure of needing a degree in order to get a job is increasing. However, with the increase in university fees from £3000 to £9000 in September 2012 means that a lot of students are not going to be able to afford to go to university resulting in no degree therefore will be less likely to be able to find a job. As we are seeing all over the world, especially in countries such as Greece and Spain, a high unemployment rate leads to a high crime rate. Crime rates in the UK are on the rise, just look at the London riots in 2011, although the catalyst may not have been unemployment, the demographic shows the main culprits were under 25 and unemployed.
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