In 2014, Australia had almost one million tertiary students (excluding another 330,000 international students). It was the largest year on record. However, according to Dr Noel Edge, Executive Director of Graduate Careers Australia (GCA), graduates are struggling to cross the bridge into successful job placement.
According to the latest GCA survey, bachelor's graduates must endure the lowest degree of employability since the early nineties.
Dr Edge noticed a drop in employment levels surrounding the global financial crisis, but over seven years later, it is still down.
"We're seeing it plateauing," Dr Edge said, "[and] we're left to ponder the question of why that might be."
Graduating into an unwelcoming workforce
Almost 30 per cent of graduates did not have a job four months after completing their bachelors' degrees. However, this is not the only issue, for they are also getting paid less.
According to the GCA survey, bachelor's graduates are paid around 74 per cent of the average male's salary, down from 84.2 per cent 15 years ago. It's a sad reality and adds to the other financial stresses predicted to impact the wellbeing of our next generation or workers and leaders.
But even though many graduates are looking hopefully for any opportunity to begin a career, Partner at Brisbane-based accounting firm DFK Hirn Newey, Paul Fiumara, believes there is weight behind this untrusting trend.
Graduates who do find jobs are being paid 74 per cent of the average male's salary.
"Students often come out of their university time having done presentations and various things that make them think they can function in the workforce, but it's quite a different world," he told News.com.au.
"What you think you're doing in universities [is not] what you find in practice."
While such a generalisation may reflect the way many employers feel, Mr Fiumara still opined that it comes down to individuals' work ethics. And with such a plentiful supply of graduates, it may just be a matter of finding the roses among the thorns, with Mr Fiumara agreeing that "you can get great workers and not so great workers from all over the place."
However, whilst the job market for students may be highly competitive, organisations are facing the same challenge finding new recruits.
Australian recruiters lacking confidence and skill
Employers still struggle to find quality candidates, especially for high demand positions, according to LinkedIn Talent Solutions. The latest recruitment trends report suggests that employers are selectively seeking experienced workers but are struggling to stand out amongst the growing number of available positions.
This makes sense considering Australian businesses are expected to take on a greater number of recruits without any extra resources to do so. According to LinkedIn, the hiring volume increased 53 per cent in 2015 but the budget only grew 34 per cent. It seems that stretching recruitment resources is a growing trend, as the gap between the anticipated volume and budget has grown steadily from five per cent in 2011 to almost 20 per cent in 2015.
To make matters worse, in Australia, leaders and recruiters lack the aptitude to confidently assess the quality of candidates despite this being an integral measure to track recruitment success. In fact, only one third felt they could measure the quality of a hire effectively, while only five per cent felt that they were exceptional at it. Without confidence in their ability to assess the quality of recruits, employers may hit a stalemate in growing and developing their most essential asset – their staff.
Furthermore, with only a small appetite for risk to take on inexperienced graduates, Australian employers must reconcile their recruitment and selection methods to overcome the hurdles in the market and grow the workforce of the future.
If you are wanting to know how you can do this, get in touch with Flexi Personnel today for human resources advice and assistance throughout the recruitment process.