In an attempt to give themselves a competitive edge in today’s tough jobs market, around half of university students and graduates are doing voluntary work, according to a new survey of 670 students.
The survey, conducted by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, reveals that 46% of recent graduates are volunteering in an effort to boost their CV. This is on a par with 47% who undertake internships and paid work experience during holidays.
Ashley Hever, talent acquisition manager, UK & Ireland, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, says students “are aware of the need to proactively bolster their CVs, but this survey shows that they’re not limiting themselves to formal work experience.
“What’s so impressive from our perspective is a clear interest and commitment to volunteering, with students realising the value that ‘personal social responsibility’ can bring to employers. It’s fantastic to see young people making a difference to society and making themselves stand out in terms of employability.”
When asked to rate the factors most likely to lead to success, the survey found that graduates and students rank experience first, followed by education, work ethic and attitude as the most vital attributes.
A third of those surveyed chose their university primarily to impress prospective employers, while around a quarter (26%) chose their degree subject because it would help them get the career they wanted.
Job satisfaction and enjoyment remains a key objective, with 42% saying that is what they most want from their job after 10 years of working. Being in charge (8%) and earning a six-figure income (6%) are much less important.
Three in five (59%) of students see themselves in a senior management role after 10 years’ in work.
Another study released to day highlights the difficulties faced by young people in today’s labour market. The study by The Foundation found that the proportion of women aged 16 to 24 in menial roles, such as office work or cleaning, has grown from seven to 21% in the past 20 years, while for men the proportion rose from 14% to 25%.
The report found that women were four times more likely to work in low-paid sectors, such as hairdressing, leisure and travel.
Katy Jones, a researcher at The Work Foundation, says: “Young women tend to start work and remain in sectors with lower pay and fewer prospects.”