It’s that time of year; student halls are being emptied, the doors are being locked on the lecture rooms, and over two million hopeful adults are thinking about their next move. The good news is that the tech industry has never been more appealing, and students from the Generation Y pool have never been more attractive to employers.
The skills shortages that are growing in the key areas of the tech sector mean that the gap in the market for talented graduates is at an all-time high. All things considered it’s quite an obvious correlation; adults graduating in the new grew up with the internet, smart phones, tablets and Google. They know more about the digital world than the generations before them even before they embarked on their degree. Employers know this and value the natural propensity to Google, to research, and to share information which is almost instinctual within most graduates.
The competition for graduate employment is on
Last year 2.28 million people studied at higher education institutions in the UK – to say there is competition for jobs in an understatement. Between June and September 2016, the word ‘graduate’ was put into the CWJobs search bar nearly fifty thousand times. The good news is that according to High Fliers, the leading independent market research company specialising in student and graduation recruitment, graduate vacancies in IT and Telecommunications is at its highest level in ten years and features in the top ten industries with the most graduate opportunities. High Fliers analysis of graduate vacancies in 2017 shows an increase of 5.5% from 2016, with a total of 961 graduate openings available.
Learning to know your worth without missing opportunities
Most universities see a huge recruitment drive from some of the UK’s biggest brand as graduation approaches. You may have attended skills training events, recruitment presentations or met with brand representatives all vying for your attention. Employers have certainly upped their game year on year, targeting the very best of the country’s graduates. The trick is to identify truly great opportunities in tech now the industry is growing at such a good pace. You don’t always need to beg or work for free and you certainly don’t need to go for the first opportunity that comes your way if it’s not quite the area you’re interested in.
Assessing your own capabilities for a realistic route into employment
Your skills are in demand and whilst there will be huge competition for each role you show interest in; the more you research your area of interest and the more you hone your skill set towards that sector, the more chance you have of achieving your goals. Be realistic, research the sector, pay attention to the job description and make sure you have the background and skills necessary – in other words, don’t waste your time applying for the wrong roles. The tech industry is huge, with a wide range of job titles, working out which one is achievable for you and plays to your strengths is the first step towards the rest of your career.
An ability to asses one’s own capabilities and strengths is a life skill that will serve a jobseeker well in the tech sector. CW Jobs top ten searches are pretty much consistent all year round until June, when there’s a spike in interest for project manager roles. Being hired as a project manager fresh from university is aspirational and certainly not impossible, however in order to achieve maximum success within the field it’s beneficial to aim for more realistic roles that are geared towards ‘graduate’ as opposed to ‘junior’ candidates as these normally require on or two years’ experience.
The final word from the PM?
Embarking on a career path is a decision requiring a degree of futureproofing. Choosing to take the tech route is a wise one; the industry is growing and the demand for talented, well-educated graduates is on the increase. Indeed, Prime Minister Theresa May said, “The number of digital tech jobs across the UK has grown at more than twice the rate of non-digital tech sectors. From analysts to web developers to software architects, these pioneers of our digital economy are at the forefront of a great British success story.” Whatever your political leanings, we’d suggest that on this particular subject the Prime Minister has got it right.