Ask James – Issue 107
Last month The Telegraph reported a combination of too many students, grade inflation and a stalled economy have created a toxic combination for any new graduate seeking paid employment.
There’s no denying – competition is tough. And if you are an IT graduate, it would seem you are faced with another hurdle in your job search – the increase of outsourced IT support activities.
Take this email from Matthew, a recent computer studies graduate looking for graduate and entry level roles in IT helpdesk support.
‘After looking on pretty much every job website doing research on the outsourcing industry and speaking to lots of recruitment consultants, a lot of these types of jobs have been outsourced to cheaper countries, so there are a lot less of the jobs in the UK.
‘Do you think that outsourcing has had a major affect on the amount of jobs in IT in the UK that are available?’
Unfortunately, Matthew, the IT industry has been rocked by the ability to outsource labour and find an IT support job. Whilst the technology sector is starting to bounce back, support jobs have become more difficult to land and retain.
The reality of the situation is, with all the momentous IT change under way in business today, organisations are under tremendous pressure to produce faster, better products and solutions. As such, companies have moved the more ‘cost saving’ positions off shore, such as call centres and other levels of support.
‘Support’ falls into an incredibly broad definition of IT and a recent article by CWJobs found the hiring outlooks for jobseekers to be good, as a result of initiatives such as Tech City. Not only are more candidates finding and receiving more callbacks; the gap is closing and those who are qualified are landing gainful employment. The challenge for you, Matthew, is knowing where to look.
What sort of IT support roles have you set your sights on? Have you considered approaching schools to see if they have positions available? Whilst it might not be what you’re currently after, it’s a great place to gain hands-on experience and the environment is typically very challenging and rewarding.
Large IT software and services companies are part of the Milk Round scheme and these are a great opportunity for graduates to find out about opportunities and seek advice about the variety of support roles available.
Once you’ve found a sector, type of company or preferred graduate scheme that suits, you need to work your network.
Since you’ve just graduated, you have an excellent opportunity to draw up on a massive network. The majority of students fail to utilise their network, but you have some great connections available to you consisting of alumni, tutors and peers so ensure to let them know you’re looking.
If you haven’t already, sharpen your use of social media within your job search. According to a worldwide survey by Eurocom Worldwide, 20% of technology employers admit to rejecting a job applicant because of their social media profile.
Around 40% of technology employers say that they check candidate’s social media sites at some point in the application process, and this figure is expected to increase in the coming years.
As an IT graduate, you should make sure your online presence is effectively managed. It goes without saying that IT candidates are expected to be particularly savvy in this sense.
Overall, Matthew, regardless of the outsourced activity, the IT industry continues to remain a great hub of activity, and by casting a wider net and leveraging the advantages of networking and social media, you will soon be on a career path that’s growing faster than the rest.