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To What Degree? cont.

By Danny Harrington

graduate jobs

In my last post I commented on the potential hurdles facing graduate job-seekers in a market which seems unable to provide full employment. Of course the best graduates will always find a position, providing they are willing to be flexible enough to bend to what’s on offer – you can’t always get what you want, as an earlier generation well knows. But this rule applies to one and all. By being flexible in what you apply for and what you are willing to accept, you can get into employment much faster. What fresh graduates often fail to realize as they hold out for that dream position is that it is much easier to jump jobs than to get into one in the first place. Employers are suspicious of the unemployed. Believe me, I am one. That Guardian article goes on to report how more and more UK graduates are looking overseas as part of a more flexible approach to job-seeking.

The two biggest markets for job-seekers, especially new graduates are the EU and China, although other parts of the Far East are attractive as well. Hong Kong and Singapore have a long history of recruiting from the UK and as they are less culturally removed, make an easier stepping stone for those who may be reticent about leaving behind the familiar comforts of home. Many people have the misconception that the jobs abroad are only open to people with language degrees. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’m not proud of it, but after 15 years in Hong Kong I hardly speak a word of Cantonese and I can’t read a single character, but it has not been of any hindrance. Other places are more difficult without the language but it is never a pre-requisite. UK graduates are immensely lucky in that English is the language of international business, so they really can fit in just about anywhere.

For Hong Kong students at UK universities, regardless of ethnic background, the same rules and factors apply. The UK is a world leader in secondary and university education and you mustn’t be put off by the negativity surrounding employability. Go to the UK, get the benefit of that education and then broaden the horizon of your job search across the globe. You may find that you are in great demand.

Other than language, the barriers to entry are minimal. Yes you need work visas and you have to travel a long way, perhaps with a certain amount of baggage, but these are trivialities. The main barriers are still exactly the same as in the UK job market. Is your degree good enough? Are you applying in the right field? Do you perform well at interview? For most people, the barrier to mobility is all in their own mind. With a bit of an adventurous spirit there is no reason why a UK graduate cannot apply for a job successfully anywhere in the world and go off and thoroughly enjoy their time there. You never know, you just might stay. Like I did.

By Danny Harrington

Co-founder of ITS Tutorial School

Dulwich College Singapore

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.

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