With computer science graduates struggling to find a way into full-time employment, CWJobs has enlisted the advice of seasoned IT professionals to provide insight into what students can do to improve their prospects of finding work in the sector.
Some 18 per cent of computer science students were unable to find a job six months after graduating last year, according to Higher Education Statistics Agency’s research carried out this year.
Richard Nott, web site director of CWJobs, called for employers to work more closely with universities to ensure that students are being taught the skills that are needed to fill skills gaps in the future.
“Employers need to improve on the dialogue between business and education. This isn’t exploited to its maximum benefit; some companies are good at it and some companies don’t do it at all,” he said.
“If I was a chairman of a large plc I would be in dialogue with universities, talking about the skills we’re looking for now, and in the years to come, and trying to tee them up,” he added.
CWJobs’ survey of 1,300 IT professionals revealed that over half (56 per cent) believe that unpaid work experience is best way of increasing a graduate’s chance of finding work.
Nott advised university students to work on getting relevant experience by taking into consideration which areas are looking for people. He identified the finance sector as a key sector looking for skilled IT personnel and said that students should gain voluntary work experience while at university to incorporate the skills in demand into their own CVs.
“In today’s market, one needs to do whatever one needs to do to get a job. If that means working for a couple of weeks free-of-charge, I think it’s worth doing that,” he said.
He added that some employers also offer one week, one month or three month internships that offer nominal pay, but stressed that these are quite competitive.
Forty eight per cent of respondents to the survey said that the tradition of joining industry bodies is still considered beneficial. This is because membership of a trade body gives employers the perception that a job candidate has the required professional skills.
The majority of respondents even said that it is more important to join industry bodies than to use blogging and social networking sites for jobseeking.