2 September 2014

According to recent research, starting salaries for graduates have, for the most part, been frozen without much of an increase for a few years now. It’s easy to jump to conclusions about this kind of statement, but it does bring up a number of issues well worth considering.

graduation_freeze_300x225Whilst I believe it’s an employer’s responsibility to pay every member of their team a fair salary, I would question the expectations of today’s graduates. It stands to reason that if you’ve built up a student debt, you’ll be keen to pay it all back, but it would be a mistake to focus entirely on what a company can pay you. It’s better to ask yourself what training opportunities they provide to help you develop personally and professionally. Would you rather work somewhere that paid you more, but cared about you less?

There seems to be an issue here of expectation versus reality. Unfortunately, having a degree is not the be all and end all, and it won’t guarantee that you will walk immediately into a highly lucrative career. However, if you are somebody who is incredibly goal-focussed, the challenge of working your way up will feel like an exciting prospect, not an arduous climb. If you want to become successful and you focus on the end-goal rather than the immediate present, there’s nothing to say you can’t.

Having said that, I would also argue that the onus isn’t entirely on graduates, and it is up to recruiters to actually do something about the skills gap they’re bemoaning. If you don’t like something, change it. If you’re looking for something that doesn’t exist then change the parameters – look for something close to what you want and build on that – create whatever it is that you’re searching for. This definitely applies to taking on new talent. A university degree might not have adequately prepared someone for your company, but if they’re a positive, passionate individual with an appetite for knowledge, it’s up to you to go the rest of the way and equip them with the tools they need to succeed.

What do you think? Do graduates have an unrealistic view of starting salaries or are employers not offering enough to draw them in?

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