Marketplace for Graduate Employment Opportunities in personal development

A 3,000 word reflective commentary which focuses on your planned journey from education into employment. You should position your work from one of the following perspectives:
? You will continue to progress from this year to the final year of study and then search for a graduate level position or graduate training programme. You should detail how this position / programme fits into your overall career plan. If you are actively seeking study abroad, this should be reflected in your discussion. If you are going to work in your family business, you should also choose this option and focus on your first position after graduation.
? You are actively seeking a placement. With this option you should focus on a particular placement application, detailing how this fits into your overall career plan.
? You have a compulsory year abroad as part of your programme. With this option you should focus on your chosen activities (study and/or work placement) and consider how
they will contribute to your development. You should also detail how your chosen activities fit into your overall career plan.
Your reflective commentary will have two distinct parts:-
Part A: Will discuss the current marketplace for graduate employment opportunities (including graduate training programmes). In this section you can provide a general overview or focus on a particular industry or even your particular discipline, for example, finance. All students may use the UK or their home country as the context for this section. Your discussion MUST review relevant academic literature.
Part B: Will describe and discuss your intended career plan [see the options above]. Your commentary should include reference to academic literature where relevant, and MUST include the following:
? Your intended graduate position/placement, with a rationale for your choice within the context of a longer-term career plan.
? An assessment of suitability for your graduate position/placement using a variety of feedback gained during the seminar activities and directed study, e.g. psychometric test
results and feedback on internal or external interview and assessment centre activities. Please include other sources of evidence if relevant.
? Identification of strengths and weaknesses related to your chosen graduate position/placement.
? A conclusion, which should identify your next steps to build on strengths and address weaknesses. For example, if you have identified a need for work experience or to improve an essential skill area, you need to explain why, how and when you plan to it.

Introduction

This reflective report is concerned with understanding the job market of United Kingdom and the focus would be to find out the number of opportunities I can get in the current situation. The main goal of this reflective report is to understand where I fit in the job market, the skills I require to get into the job market and the areas where I am week and can improve to get faster job. However, prior to assessing my skills, strengths, and weaknesses, it is important that I understand what is currently happening in the graduate market and the situation of the market regarding the job requirements and the skills that are important to succeed in securing jobs quickly. The Part A of this reflective report is concerned with understanding the current marketplace for graduate employment opportunities and the Part B is about my intended career plan and assessment of related factors such as suitability, strengths, and weaknesses. In the end, conclusive remarks have been given regarding the steps that should be considered by me based on the market requirements, my strengths and weaknesses.

Part A: Current Marketplace for Graduate Employment Opportunities

If the graduate market of United Kingdom is taken into consideration for the current year then it can be stated that the market has grown appreciably well and there are opportunities that can be considered appreciable for the graduates coming out of the college this year. Moreover, if the trend of past five years is considered then it can be witnessed that the market situation is bright. The report published by HighFliers.co.uk (2016) stated that from the year 2006 to 2016 the employment market for the graduate has shown huge fluctuations. From the year 2005 to 2006 the percentage change in job opportunities was 10.8%. However, the change from the year 2007 to 2008 was 6.7%. The reason behind such huge variation can be attributed the recessionary situation of the 2008-2009. During this period the economy dwindled due to series of wrong financial decisions in the United States real estate and financial industry (Bell and Blachflower, 2010). The impact of this situation was worldwide and particularly on those countries that were closely dependent on the economy of the United States such as China and most of the European Union countries. However, after the huge investment from the US government into the market in the name of bailout package gradually brought the market on track. 
The impact of the economic situation was clearly visible on the United Kingdom’s job market (Gregg and Wadsworth, 2010). On one hand where the fall in 2008 was 6.7%, on the other the fall in the next year, that is 2009, was huge that is around 17.8%. However, due to the positive measures considered by the governments around the world, the economic started to come on the right track. After the positive expectation from the economy, the companies opened their doors for the graduates and the year 2010 saw huge jump that is around 12%. As per the report, the opportunities for 2016 were expected to be 7.5% which went to 8.4% around mid-June this year. The recruitment season in the initial months of session 2014-15 showed that the confidence in the market from the employers’ perspective has returned. 
The sector that has been considered for the job is IT as it has been observed from the past decade that the Information and Technology grew faster than any other industry. One of the reasons behind such growth can be the non-restricted access of this sector around the globe. The companies working in the information and technology are successfully able to access the talent and labor market from around the world along with the resources. Therefore, moving into the position of managing the human resources within such organization will be lucrative for individuals who are looking for the opportunities to interact and handle wide diversity of individuals.
Based on the studies of the opportunities in the market, it has been identified that the job market of United Kingdom prefers individuals with work experience. The individuals with work experience are always preferred upon the graduates with no work experience. In this scenario it becomes an important aspect for the graduates to induct themselves in some kind of activities that can allow them get exposure to work environment within the organizations. The job market provides part time opportunities to fresh graduates who can act as the suitable certification and proof of experience. 
Some of the researches have come to the conclusion that around one in every three job positions available in the company are filled by the individuals with some kind of previous work experience. Moreover, it has been also found out that the salaries that are availed by the graduates in the top companies in the United Kingdom are in the average of 30,000 pound. Moreover, the top four sectors that are best in case of providing good salaries to the candidates are investment banking, law, other banking and finance, and oil and energy sector. These industries provide appreciable salary package to the graduates, provided the graduates have right skills and qualities to handle the job responsibilities (Cowling et al, 2015). 
Whatever one discuss about the opportunities in the job market of United Kingdom, one thing is certainly clear that without job experience, the individuals will be bound to face challenge in searching for suitable jobs. However, the big companies are aware that they cannot get experienced every time for the available positions. Also, the individuals who come with some experience holds various types of presumptions about the work culture and it becomes sometime challenging for the companies to train such individuals. However, the fresh graduates are unaware of anything and they are also not pre-molded into particular work methods. Therefore, it becomes easier for the organizations to mold the work styles of the graduate according to the work styles of the organization. The fear of hiring fresh graduate is mostly prevalent among the organizations of small or medium size. The reason behind such fear is that they have less resource to toy with and they cannot spend unnecessary time and money on training the individuals who know nothing. Instead of spending resources in training, they can hire someone with experience and get them to do the job and start earning revenue from the day one. Moreover, there is the fear that what will happen if the hired fresh graduate fail to stand on the expectation of the employer. However, the experience individuals have the experience and a past track record of the previous that can be assessed by the company to understand the stability and the quality of the individual. 
If the vacancy data of the last year is observed then it can be stated that the industry that is most lucrative for the job vacancies are accounting and professional services, armed forces, banking and finance, consulting, investment banking, Information Technology and Telecommunications, law, and retailing. If the ranking is done then it can be found that the Information Technology and Telecommunication sector is the most lucrative sector at present in United Kingdom. The least attractive sector among all is Media. If the overall picture is considered then it can be said that overall rise is 3.3% which is appreciable growth considering the media and oil and energy separately. 

                                       Figure 1 - The Graduate Market (2016)
If the expected vacancies in the current year are expected to rise further with the Information Technology and Telecommunication sector providing more opportunities to the fresh graduates due to the access to the world market. This is just the assumption based on the past data which contradicts with the assumption made by The Graduate Market Report that stated that the accounting and professional services firms and public sector companies in the United Kingdom are likely to recruit more in the year 2016 (Ft.com, 2016). 
If all these studies till now are considered, it can be stated that the job market will be lucrative in the United Kingdom. However, there is one major concern that is expected to impact the job market and that is the recent initiation process of exit of United Kingdom from the European Union. The political decision to exit the European Union is expected to impact the job market of the country in one way or the other (BBC News, 2016). One of important aspect to consider here is that till now companies from outside United Kingdom used to view the country as the launching ground into the other European market. However, it is sure that after the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union is likely to eliminate the privileges that are currently enjoyed by the companies that are active in the United Kingdom (BBC News, 2016). Their market reach is likely to reduce in the days to come. This will impact the reputation of the country which was earlier seen as the launching ground for other European countries. There is the possibility that such position will be enjoyed by other countries in the EU such as Germany. This situation is likely to impact the opening of new companies within the United Kingdom and the existing one might try to change their base. In such cases, there is unlikely any chance that the job market will be as lucrative as expected. However, considering the actual researches done till date by the agencies, it should be assumed that the job market will be positive.

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Part B: Intended Career Plan

Based on the study so far, I would consider the Information Technology and Telecommunication as the preferred sector for the job opportunities. The reason behind the selection of this sector is not based on the current opportunities provided by this sector to the graduates. It is actually based on the market accessibility that is possible in the Information Technology and Telecommunication. Therefore, it can be said that the industry has good promise for its employees. Moreover, one can easily witness that there are lots of opportunities in the IT sector even for the non-experienced individuals. There are companies that require completion of tasks on short term basis which can provide be enough opportunity to gain quick experience and become industry ready. As identified in the industry research above that the experience is the most important aspect that is desired by any company that is operational in the country. 
Therefore, it is imperative that I gain some experience prior to moving ahead into the job market (The Graduate Market, 2016). Moreover, as I have currently one more year to complete my education, so I am planning to engage in some sort of part time activities for the various companies as a freelancer. This will provide me some opportunity in understanding the working of the industry and will start getting exposure. Apart from that, the certificates provided by the companies with whom I will work on part time will act as a proof of experience when I will actually enter the job market. I assume that these small experiences for the next one year are likely to help me land an entry level job which I would use an opportunity to build my future career. At present I am targeting to secure the entry level profile after completing my education based on the part time experiences I will gain. However, if things do not work out as it is planned then I will join a good graduate training program. The benefit of the program will be to help it get further exposure about the industry and understand the aspects that are necessary to secure the job. 
I am looking ten years from now and see me positioned at appreciable job profile in an international IT company. My next two year is going to be spent in completing the education, gaining experience through part time jobs from IT sector, and engaging in graduating training program. After that I expect myself to be prepared enough for the job market with appropriate experience at hand for a candidate of entry level job. I will spend my three years working for the same company gradually increasing my experience and knowledge and learning about the industry even further. After that, I look for opportunities in the international companies that provide stable job profiles with appreciable learning and growth opportunities. 
Assessment of Suitability
Based on the various feedbacks I have received so far in my seminar activities and other forms of tests, I can state that my skills are not close enough to what is required in the job market. There is lot of things that I should be working on to improve my suitability for the position. At present my major focus is on learning whatever is taught in my final year and relate it strongly with the actual market scenario. At present the soft skills that are required in the employment sector is appreciably well. Some of the soft skills are motivation, positive attitude towards learning, ability to work in team, and should be able to work alone on individual projects. Considering these factors, I can say that I stand quite well on all these aspects. The recent test scores on the various tests showed that I am self-motivated and does not need external factors to constantly push me towards doing my activities. Moreover, as per the positive learning attitude is considered, I can say that I have engaged in various learning activities on my own and learned new things even it was not directly connected with my course curriculum. 
As per the ability to work in team is concerned, I can say that I have worked well with teams in my educational time and I am sure I can work well even in the company. The important aspect in working in team is coordinating with the team members effectively by properly communicating about the progress, understanding and respecting what is being said by the other team members and responding in manner that clears the present confusion instead of creating it. Such understanding to work is what I believe makes a suitable candidate to work in the team. There have been times when I have also worked on individual projects and I have done quite well. The important aspects in it are to continuously staying motivated towards the work without any external stimuli and keep progressing. 
Identification of Strengths and Weaknesses
I have chosen the entry level position after completing my next year education. There are various strengths and weaknesses that I have identified that are suitable and unsuitable for the job market respectively. As I have planned to enter into the job market in the third year, which is after a year of completing my education and spending my time with graduate training programs, I believe most of my weaknesses will be covered by then to prepare me for the job market. Some of the strengths that have been identified are the presence of few important soft skills, as mentioned earlier. As assessed in the literature review, the employers will be focusing on the employability and experience. The lack of experience is my biggest weakness which eventually impacts my employability skills. As per the academic knowledge is concerned, I think there are some areas where improvements is required. Some theoretical aspects that are asked in the interviews need to be read thoroughly. Moreover, the companies require enough computer literacy from a candidate joining the company and as the sector I prefer to enter after a year or two is IT, therefore it becomes an important aspect that I am capable of performing necessary job on the computer. At present I am pretty comfortable with various aspects of computer skills. However, after working on the part time jobs, as stated earlier, if I will find that I lack some knowledge I will make sure to improve in the next two years.

Conclusion

In the end, it can be stated that the job market in the United Kingdom is appreciably well in the days. However, there is expectation that the Brexit might impact the job market and it can be considered to be of short term. Based on the study so far, Information Technology and Telecommunication was found to be the attractive industry. I have selected the industry as my first choice and am expected to prepare for the next two years to get an appreciable position in this industry. 
Based on the analysis of my strengths and weaknesses, and what is required in the market, I have reached to the conclusion that there are certain things I need to work on to improve my employability. The first thing I will do is I will focus on gaining more knowledge in the next year. After that, I will focus on gaining experience certificates through working part time for IT companies. Moreover, I will also focus on getting longer internship opportunity in the preferred company. I will induct myself for the one year in graduate training program to prepare myself for the job market. Also, I will spend time identifying the computer skills that are required by the industry and will improve it gradually.  

References

Bell, D. N., & Blanchflower, D. G. (2010). UK unemployment in the great recession. National Institute Economic Review, 214(1), R3-R25.
Gregg, P., & Wadsworth, J. (2010). The UK labour market and the 2008-9 recession. National Institute Economic Review, 212(1), R61-R72.
Elsby, M. W., & Smith, J. C. (2010). The great recession in the UK labour market: a transatlantic perspective. National Institute Economic Review, 214(1), R26-R37.
Cowling, M., Liu, W., Ledger, A., & Zhang, N. (2015). What really happens to small and medium-sized enterprises in a global economic recession? UK evidence on sales and job dynamics. International Small Business Journal, 33(5), 488-513.
Anderson, E. (2016). Here are the workers most in demand in the UK. [online] Telegraph.co.uk. Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/jobs/11602670/Here-are-the-workers-most-in-demand-in-the-UK.html [Accessed 23 Nov. 2016].
BBC News. (2016). UK job market 'weak around Brexit vote' - BBC News. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37242204 [Accessed 23 Nov. 2016].
Clegg, R. (2016). UK labour market- Office for National Statistics. [online] Ons.gov.uk. Available at: http://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/bulletins/uklabourmarket/latest [Accessed 23 Nov. 2016].
Ft.com. (2016). UK job market ‘in freefall’ after Brexit vote. [online] Available at: https://www.ft.com/content/3a1e24d8-5ae0-11e6-8d05-4eaa66292c32 [Accessed 23 Nov. 2016].
The Graduate Market, (2016). The Graduate Market. http://www.highfliers.co.uk/.

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