Image: Flickr / Foshie
Image: Flickr / Foshie

Graduates rush to apply for ‘panic masters’ amid shrinking employment options

Postgraduate applications have increased by up to 20% while employment options shrink as a result of the impact of Covid-19 on the economy. 

Thousands of students are applying for postgraduate courses after struggling to land jobs within the rapidly shrinking pool of graduate roles. 

UCL, Cambridge, and Edinburgh have all reported significant increases in the number of UK students applying to master’s courses

Mary Cook, an admissions expert, has theorised that the rise is due to “a collapse in confidence in the graduate employment market”. 

She added that while master’s degrees are usually worthwhile, it would be unwise to rush into making decisions for the wrong reasons – particularly when postgraduate loans may not completely cover all expenses. 

A student rep at Leicester University who has been running focus groups with finalists said: “there’s a lack of career readiness and confidence. It’s not just about doing a master’s to gain skills, but also to get the opportunity to do extracurricular activities.”

Last year, graduate employers cut vacancies by nearly a half. While some of these roles have been reintroduced this year, there are particular shortages of entry level roles in the industries worst affected by the pandemic. 

I’m not surprised by the increase in post graduate applications, I’m going into my third year in September feeling completely unprepared for the real world.

– Second Year, University of Warwick Student 

A recent survey conducted by Prospects involving over 2000 students revealed that over a third of university finalists changed their career plans as a result of the pandemic. 

Nearly half of university students have said they feel unprepared for the job market, blaming lack of experience, vacancies, and transferable skills as the main obstacles. 

A second-year student at Warwick University commented: “I’m not surprised by the increase in post graduate applications, I’m going into my third year in September feeling completely unprepared for the real world.” 

“I think I have basically decided that I want to continue my education for another year and do a master’s. I think I need that extra time to prepare to enter the job market and also extend my university experience further.”

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