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Time for grads to reassess priorities as hot jobs go cold

With the recession affecting nearly every sector and formerly hot industries like mining, accounting and finance cooling off, now might be the time to reassess your priorities. Instead of pursuing a traditionally safe career, go for something that will help you to develop transferable skills – and that you will enjoy in the process.

There really are no ‘safe’ industries any more. Many employers are holding back on hiring and delaying their uptake of graduates. Both PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young postponed their graduate start dates, with PricewaterhouseCoopers even offering grads $4000 for the delay.

According to a CareerOne survey, almost half of graduates aren’t even working in the field they studied.

Graduate Careers Australia Research Manager Bruce Guthrie predicts that the less glamorous jobs will hold up in the current climate. Areas such as teaching and health sciences, for instance, are less contingent on a thriving economy, and so should be somewhat more stable.

More graduates are also looking to the public sector – traditionally seen as a safe haven – which means competition for government jobs is increasing. Applications for the Australian Tax Office’s graduate program jumped from 1701 to 5312 applicants this year.

According to Dawn White, President of The National Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (NAGCAS), the upside to all this gloomy employment news could be that students and job-seekers are being forced to think seriously about what they really want to do with their lives, rather than simply following the path of least resistance or just doing what’s expected of them. Ultimately, that can only be a good thing.

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