What Will Life be Like After Graduation?

Be it now or in the not-too-distant future, the question of what life will be like after graduation will cross every student’s mind at some point; “Where will I be? What will I be doing? What will I be earning?” And, naturally, your choice of career is something that will have a great part to play in shaping the answers.

Last year, over 27,000 of you from over 120 universities across the UK responded to the trendence UK Graduate Barometer survey and shared your opinions on what you thought life might be like after graduation. As well as ranking your favourite employers, trendence also asked exactly what you expect from your future career.

So what were the findings?

  • During the job seeking process students expect to fill out a startling average of 30.3 job applications.
  • Male students were expecting to complete 28.3 while female students expected to complete 31.3 applications on average before securing a job.
  • Additionally, those surveyed predicted that they would spend an average of 6.2 months searching for a job.
  • Female students were closer to this with an expected 6.3 month long job search, yet males tended to be slightly more optimistic with an expected 5.8 months.

But what exactly did you anticipate for your future career and what were your expectations of working life?

On average, a respectable 77.7% of you expect to achieve at least the living standard of your parents with less than 1 in 10 thinking this would not be the case. With such a high proportion of students expecting to achieve this,  surpassing the previous generation’s standard of life be the new benchmark of success for this generation?

So too is the importance of developing your career: 6 out of 10 of students agreed with the statement “after studying, I will make sacrifices in my personal life in order to develop my career.” With only 1 in 10 disagreeing completely, it is clear that today’s students not only expect to make personal sacrifices for the sake of career advancement after graduation, but can also be certain that they intend to.

Students surveyed also seemed not just to have a high expectation of themselves, but of their employers too. On average, students expect to earn a starting salary of £23,000 per annum with male students expecting even more at £25,100 and females lowering their expectations to £22,500 per annum.

Correspondingly, those surveyed expected to work an average of 43 hours per week with male participants expecting to work 45.6 and females expecting 41.9 hours per week. In general, males generally seemed to expect to work longer hours for more money and vice versa for females.

Despite this, the majority of students still prioritise fulfilment in the workplace over earning potential. At least 63.1% of you agreed with the statement “it is more important for me to feel fulfilled at work than to earn lots of money” with only 1 in 10 disagreeing. It would seem that the idea of being fulfilled at work is a powerful one which had students ranking “good work-life balance”, “personal development” and “being appreciated at work” high in importance for desirable future employer characteristics.

This year’s graduates are leaving university with aspirations to do well in the workplace without entirely compromising their personal lives, and to better the living standards of their parents with realistic expectations of job availability. So what will life be like after university?

There is no generic mould for life after graduation and life is often what you make of it, but with expectations of a good starting salary and a realistic approach to the job application process it is encouraging to see that students are leaving university with a more optimistic outlook on their future careers. As the economy takes and upturn, fresh graduates may start to find that their expectations are more likely to be met.

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