I’d argue that this is one of the biggest challenges of our times: we have hundreds, thousands of brilliant, qualified young people but very few of them enjoy job security. I mean, proper job security, full-time, salary, benefits, within their field of study, not in a Starbucks down the street from their parents’ house.
- What would you say to a recent university graduate?
- Two tall lattes with sugar, to go.
I read that joke somewhere on the wide plains of the internet a few months ago and it really stuck. After all, there is a dose of truth in every joke. Extreme devaluation of education in the Western world put recent graduates in a situation where a BA (which already leaves most students thousands dollars in debt, at least in the U.S.) is not enough to get a salaried job in their field of study, forcing young people into unsecured part-time jobs or freelancing (which are not always paid either) and into more debt triggered by the need for further education. I can’t say much about the other parts of the world, unfortunately, but from what I can see here in Russia, an overwhelming majority of my former schoolmates are pursuing graduate degrees and not working or working part-time outside their field of study; most live with their parents, too.
The Great Anonymous Faceless They say that to get a job you need a graduate degree, hard skills and a few years of working experience.
Um, hold on a second. You’re saying I need a few years of working experience to land my first salaried job? Ah, well that makes all the sense in the world. See, this is exactly what forces young people into unpaid internships and low-pay part-time unsecured jobs to support themselves in the meantime. Only the problem is, there is no guarantee that that awesome unpaid internship will turn into a job.
I will hit 3 years of working experience by June 2014. I have an honours degree, a bunch of awards and I’m really damn good at what I do. Every person I show my CV to says it’s brilliant and wants me to work for them but I am still yet to find a person who would want to pay me for the work they want me to do. And so here I am, wondering whether I’m doing something wrong or the world is wrong.
*Que dramatic lights fade-out*