This post will focus on jobs and prospects of employment, a topic important to many LSE students. I know I’m not the only on writing about it – most of my peers, home or international students, are using Facebook, Twitter or their blogs as means to vent their stress, which is associated with this daunting job hunting process. I am an international student, so my circumstances are different from those of home students. But the discussion will not focus on me – I want to share some of the knowledge I accumulated throughout my stay in the UK with the readers of my blog.
Needless to say, LSE graduates are highly sought after. But with an economy struggling to provide jobs for graduates, many find themselves entering Lent term without any leads. In order to understand why, it’s important to put a structure on the job search process. Let’s consider the following (highly simplified) time line of the typical UK student:
The diagram above illustrates the difficulty in securing a full time job. When I talk about full time jobs, I refer to graduate level jobs, i.e. those that require a bachelor’s degree at the very least. Most of the students opt to apply to graduate schemes. These are highly structured, publicised and competitive programmes. They are the traditional way of entry to large corporations in most industries. Applying to graduate schemes in the UK is very long process, and usually attracts applicants from outside the UK as well. It all starts with the dreaded online application where applicants provide details about their education, previous work experience and extra-curricular activities. Those who make the cut are then invited to take online tests, and those successful in that round are invited to interviews and assessment centres. The process applies to every entry stage, be it spring programme, internship or full time.
Success greatly depends on the ability to get through that process as early as possible. Those who are successful in securing spring programme places in their first year are very likely to be fast tracked to the internship programme during their second year. Those who are successful in securing an internship have the highest probability to have that internship converted to a full time offer. Indeed, those applying to full-time positions directly will discover it is extremely difficult to get through to interview stages as most full time positions are filled by converted interns. Therefore, those who end up doing a master’s will usually find themselves in a difficult position if they didn’t manage to secure an internship between their final year and their masters degree.
But not all hope is lost. There are plenty of opportunities at smaller companies who don’t have graduate programmes or are looking to hire according to business needs. These will also have less competition as they usually won’t be able to sponsor international students. It is, indeed, difficult to secure a job if one fails to ‘get his foot in the door’ through of the stages in the process depicted above. LSE students have it easier, but if even they struggle, it is frightening to think how others are coping with the situation.
Good luck to everyone!