Grads: ‘Y’ so unemployable?

Noor Al-Bazzaz 9 February 2008

Noor Al-Bazzaz

Deputy News Editor

Employers are finding recent graduates too self-centred, fickle and greedy for employment, according to a new report.

Figures from 217 different graduate recruiters suggest that more and more employers are finding it difficult to fill job positions with suitable candidates, despite increasing numbers of University graduates.

While being technologically skilled, graduates born since 1982 are convinced they are highly employable, ambitious, demanding, and overconfident, the new findings say.

Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the Association of Graduate Recuiters (AGA) said: “Graduates are coming up to recruitment stands at events and saying ‘what can you offer me?'”

The report found that dependency on parents is also a major problem within ‘Generation Y’. Parents are apparently becoming more persistent at contacting universities if they feel their child is not being treated well enough, and employers are beginning to fear parental interference at work.

“In America, there are now big global companies who have to have policies on how to deal with parents” Gilleard told Reuters. “Some parents are coming back and saying their children are worth more, they are effectively acting as agents for their children.”

But, unlike the “Generation X” of the 1960s and 70s, ‘Generation Y’ is reportedly less focused on salary and more on work-life balance, environment and ethics. Jonathan Austin, whose company compiles the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work for supplement, said: “Generation Y people are looking for organisations that offer more than money.

“I’m not saying money isn’t important, but our data show they are looking for a working environment in which they can continue to learn.

“They also want flexibility and a real work-life balance. They simply aren’t prepared to mortgage their lives to the company.”

With UK universities now turning out 250,000 graduates a year, companies might be expected to be awash with choice. But around 30% to 50% of these graduates are proving a disappointment to employers, so competition for the top students apparently remains intense.

“They walk in with high expectations for themselves, their employer, and their boss”, one commentator said. “If you thought you saw a clash when Generation X came into the workplace that was the fake punch. The haymaker is coming now.”