/ Graduate recruitment. Please explain

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EeeByGum - on 14 Jun 2012
Just finished doing a graduate recruitment fair and it just doesn't make sense.
1. This year has apparently been very quite
2. At least half of the people we spoke to were overseas students seeking visas
3. At least half of the people we spoke to couldn't articulate themselves
4. Companies like BASF can not get suitable technical engineers for toffee

So in this economic crisis where millions of grads can't get work... Where are they all?
Bobling - on 14 Jun 2012
In reply to EeeByGum:

Funny time for a graduate recruitment fair? I thought most of the big firms got their next year's intake squared away by about New Year? Could explain the lack of talent now.
Cthulhu on 14 Jun 2012
In reply to EeeByGum:

> 3. At least half of the people we spoke to couldn't articulate themselves

O delicious irony, how I do love thee!
Jaffacake - on 14 Jun 2012
In reply to EeeByGum:

Hello *waves*

Well I don't need a visa and I can articulate myself reasonably well but whether or not I'm a suitable engineer or just someone with an engineering degree I don't know.

It's entirely probable that people simply didn't know about the fair, they were never that well advertised at my uni, I usually found out about them afterwards.

Tbh I'm not really sure what you get from a graduate recruitment fair other than a list of websites to visit which you already have.
hokkyokusei - on 14 Jun 2012
In reply to EeeByGum:
> Just finished doing a graduate recruitment fair and it just doesn't make sense.
> 1. This year has apparently been very quite

I wonder how many of them could spell quiet? ;)

<snip>

>
> So in this economic crisis where millions of grads can't get work... Where are they all?

I reckon they are all polishing their degrees in marketing, business studies & sports journalism.

Hairy Pete on 14 Jun 2012
In reply to EeeByGum:
> 4. Companies like BASF can not get suitable technical engineers for toffee
> So in this economic crisis where millions of grads can't get work... Where are they all?

When I graduated in electronics, some two decades ago, it was clear that the IT and communications sectors were about to take off. There was already a shortage of RF engineers. Despite this demand, questions were being asked as to why 40% of the graduates did not remain in engineering.

What they should have been asking was why do so many remain in a career that has so little respect and pays accordingly. Most of the engineers that I knew were about to take a conversion course to get on to a law degree - because that's where the money was.

Since that time I've not noticed a significant change in attitude toward engineering, at least not in the UK. With the introduction of student loans the pressure to earn serious money after graduation has increased many fold. Why would anybody with sufficient nous choose to remain in engineering?

How does your remuneration package compare to other sectors of the industry? Your offer of toffee is not going to cut it.
Blinder - on 14 Jun 2012
In reply to EeeByGum: I have heard that the quality of pHD applicants has increased lots. Lots of people are trying to weather out the storm. However would not account for a total lack of talent. Maybe they are following the money. Currently working in science (with pHD) and my girlfriend working for the same company is earning 2x with potential to earn 5x me in the next me next 5 to 10 years. While I am looking at 30% increase. She has and MBA ( and ok a lot more talent) but that is supply and demand. The closer to the money you are the more they are willing to pay.
P.S. I am not bitter.
GrendeI on 14 Jun 2012
In reply to EeeByGum:

> So in this economic crisis where millions of grads can't get work... Where are they all?

Getting pished in Thailand?

To be fair though having attended a lot of science & engineering orientated fairs, I felt that most companies had sent the wrong people who aren't worth talking to/uninterested, or are looking for very specific interests.
antdav - on 14 Jun 2012
All this talk about lack of jobs causes the low turn out at careers fairs. Last year over 95% of graduates were employed by year end and much higher in technical degrees. Loads of engineering firms have had open recruitment days in the last few months (forgot to mention this jaffa, will let you know what I hear on the grapevine) as they've got loads of empty desks whilst graduates are taking unrelated jobs just to be working.
pffft - on 14 Jun 2012
In reply to EeeByGum: Is there a good place to find all these jobs? It's a mission to wade through all the agencies to find them.
Andy_B39 - on 14 Jun 2012
In reply to EeeByGum: Iv'e just finished an MPhys degree and looking around alot of the graduate recruiment websites for technical jobs is a nightmare. The vast majority of the graduate schemes, once you filter out the endless sales/marketing/office management ones, either require a 2:1 or higher(I'm looking at a 2:2) or are already filled for this years round.
You mention BASF, a look on their website shows 3 jobs in the UK, none of which are suitable for those without experience.
Is there anywhere special these places advertise? I feel like i'm missing something here.
andic - on 14 Jun 2012
In reply to Hairy Pete:
> (In reply to EeeByGum)
> [...]
>
> When I graduated in electronics, some two decades ago, it was clear that the IT and communications sectors were about to take off. There was already a shortage of RF engineers. Despite this demand, questions were being asked as to why 40% of the graduates did not remain in engineering.
>

Whenever I have a problem with an induction genny the guys that come out whatever the company are always about 130 years old. There will be money to be made out of rf soon

Radioactiveman - on 14 Jun 2012
telemarker - on 14 Jun 2012
In reply to Jaffacake:

http://www.gradcracker.com/

This is an engineering recruitment website that was very popular when I graduated 4 years ago. If you are willing to move to Aberdeen there are loads of well paid jobs in the oil and gas industry.
telemarker - on 14 Jun 2012
In reply to EeeByGum:

I would say its the wrong time of year for graduate recruitment. I went to a lot as a student but never one at this time of year as I was always on holiday by now.
antdav - on 15 Jun 2012
In reply to telemarker: I missed out on the early entry positions, bad advertising and effort at my uni meant only one local company came to us. The closest fair was in Birmingham, 2-3 hours travel away on public transport. I got my graduate position through Thomas Telford. Interviews in June, started in July. Only 1 of my class of 20 had an offer before finals
stumpy - on 15 Jun 2012
In reply to Hairy Pete:
> (In reply to EeeByGum)
> [...]
>
> When I graduated in electronics, some two decades ago, it was clear that the IT and communications sectors were about to take off. There was already a shortage of RF engineers. Despite this demand, questions were being asked as to why 40% of the graduates did not remain in engineering.
>
> What they should have been asking was why do so many remain in a career that has so little respect and pays accordingly. Most of the engineers that I knew were about to take a conversion course to get on to a law degree - because that's where the money was.
>
> Since that time I've not noticed a significant change in attitude toward engineering, at least not in the UK. With the introduction of student loans the pressure to earn serious money after graduation has increased many fold. Why would anybody with sufficient nous choose to remain in engineering?

This maybe depends where you are based and if you are willing to move to a different area. For example I graduated with a mechanical engineering degree from Aberdeen in 2007, I had a job before I had graduated (as with most of my course). Due to the oil and gas industry in aberdeen there is a big demand for engineers and you get the respect deserved and paid accordingly. If you put in the work it is not difficult to be earning more than a lawyer and get to that level of earning quicker. In fact my friends brother who graduated top of the year in Law two years ago has just had to move home as he was struggling to pay the bills.

JimboWizbo - on 15 Jun 2012
In reply to EeeByGum: I think it's the timing. Go to a recruitment fair in November for September starts and compare. I've done a couple and this is very late in the day for 2012 grad scheme applications.
Oujmik - on 15 Jun 2012
In reply to EeeByGum: I did physics at Uni and was keen to work for an engineering or R&D type company. At the few recruitment events I went to, I found that the engineering companies were shooting themselves in the foot by demanding specific degrees. For example, I was told by Arup that they wouldn't consider physics graduates (even for the nuclear industry!). By contrast, Price Waterhouse Cooper, Deloittes, KPMG etc. were all happy to consider applications from anyone with a degree.

At the time, my feelings were rather different. I thought that my physics degree should be taken as a guarantee that I can do physics (and maths, etc.) and therefore I should be preferred for jobs involving these skills over other applicants. It annoyed me immensely that I did a 'hard' degree and got a good result, but that I was simply regarded as a generic 'graduate' - except by the engineering companies who regarded me as 'not and engineer' and the oil companies who regarded me as 'not a chemist'. However, I have since realised that the standard and skills of graduates with seemingly equivalent degrees varies so much that it's not always a useful indicator - better just to interview and see how it goes.

On the subject of recruitment fairs, some people go earnestly seeking employment and genuine insight into the jobs market. Most go seeking free Pot Noodles and Fairy Liquid from the P&G and Unilever stands. The former quickly realise the futility of their endeavour and join the latter.
EeeByGum - on 15 Jun 2012
In reply to Andy_B39:

> You mention BASF, a look on their website shows 3 jobs in the UK, none of which are suitable for those without experience.
> Is there anywhere special these places advertise? I feel like i'm missing something here.

To be fair - I do sympathise with the grads to a certain extent. BASF weren't actually recruiting at the fair, just putting the word out, as were many of the larger firms. Have you applied to them or rang up their HR to ask what the score is? Could be worth a try. Would you be prepared to work in Germany? After all, you are young, have few commitments and the gritstone will still be there when you get back in a few years time! :-)

Also - don't let your lack of a 1st class from Cambridge put you off. We aren't interested in qualifications so long as you have the basic skills we are looking for, are bright, enthusiastic and able to speak without mumbling! :-) Our latest [brilliant] recruit has almost no formal education!

Good luck!
Offwidth - on 15 Jun 2012
In reply to EeeByGum: I think there are many reasons: the lack of respect for Engineers in the UK; the continuing low numbers of women (half the population); a lack of practical focus in some of the 'best' institutions; tempting better salaries people can get in other areas that require good numeracy (esp finance); the hammering new University Engineering Departments got over the last decade and the way some Uni mangements responded by dropping standards; the way HNC/HND courses have been damaged and dumbed down by EDEXCEL.

I started lecturing in a poly EEE department in the late 80s and in our school we had 500 good quality workhorse practical oriented graduates annually, that were snapped up by employers, over the areas of Production, Manufacturing, Mechanical, Integrated, Electrical, Electronic and Communications engineering. We had another 200 HND diplomands. UK numbers slowly declined over the years but we made up a bit of the drop with overseas students. When EDEXEL arrived they wouldn't allow our tailored HND in their identikit universe, so our mangement dropped them. About 6 years ago all our courses in these areas were closed as we couldnt recruit at the right quality despite one of the best graduate success and feedback histories anywhere (the Russel group university down the road was part of the problem as they had pretty much the same entry grades). A similar story occurred elsewhere and to a certain extent in the more practical oriented old University departments. Engineering graduates numbers shifted from about 50:50 new:old university to I suspect more like 20:80 old University. I was at Cambridge as an undergrad and although I couldnt knock the courses there (unlike some big nameinstitutions) most of the graduate Engineers I knew avoided manufacturing industry and of those who didnt most soon moved into management; many completely changed field.
EeeByGum - on 15 Jun 2012
In reply to telemarker:

> I went to a lot as a student but never one at this time of year as I was always on holiday by now.

It is good to see you took getting a job seriously! :-) To be fair, I was the same but it was easy to get a job in my day.
Hairy Pete on 15 Jun 2012
In reply to stumpy:
> (In reply to Hairy Pete)
> [...]
>
> This maybe depends where you are based and if you are willing to move to a different area. ...... to pay the bills.
That's interesting to hear. Things must have turned around a bit since I graduated. Shortly after graduating I encountered a recently graduated control engineer, he was doing temporary work as a lift attendant for big London law firm because it paid significantly more than anything offered in engineering.

May be it's time to move, Sheffield is a bit of an electronics void.
Offwidth - on 15 Jun 2012
In reply to Offwidth:

...then there is government. I wanted to think about this but don't have time so I'll try and be brief. The rot really kicked in with Thatcher and an enthusaism for removal of regulation and subsidies whethere they were useful or not. We then decided for 30 years that value-added economic growth was less important than what I increasingly regard as sleight-of-hand growth. If we seriously want to compete with the best economies, more direct support of organisations that make stuff and the employees that are bright enough to make that stuff as good as (or better) than elsewhere, is a neccesity. From where I currently stand, the high level education support and research support is struggling; big companies seem more concerned with accounting than product; pals in SMEs can't get money despite full order books. Our competitor goverments clearly get-it and we are only just waking up. Luckily, the UK has a lot of talent that has keept some surprisingly good stuff going against the tide.

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