Britain today has one of the most highly educated young workforces in the world. Our universities continue to be ranked amongst the best globally; A-levels and GCSEs have delivered record results year on year for 27 years and more people than ever before have the benefit of participating in Higher Education.
Alongside a greater participation in education, Generation Y (born after 1979) is the generation that has grown up with ubiquitous technological advances including the Internet and mobile phones.
Employment prospects for the under 30s are bleak; average student debt is now higher than the average starting salary* and the number of young people out of work is over a million.
Even before the recent financial crises, at the height of the boom times, on the back of five years of consistently increased demand for graduates in the UK, the major organisations who recruited directly from campus onto graduate schemes offered a total of 21,144 vacancies for a graduating class of 276,930 students – in other words, enough jobs for just 7.6% of them.
But since 2005 the numbers going to university have increased by 20% and yet in 2010 graduate recruiters cut the numbers hired by nearly 25% meaning that the top employers now receive more than 230 applications for every vacancy.
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*average starting salary for the 200 or so AGR members that include law firms and investment banks is forecast at £25,500 for 2012 (the real average salary is for all graduates is £19,677 – HESA)
the average student debt for those starting university in 2010 is £26,100. It is expected that those starting courses in 2011 will graduate with an average debt of £53,400 (Push Student Debt Survey 2011.)