Graduates can’t see the perks in the public sector

A survey reveals that fewer than 10% of graduates would opt to work in the public sector, individuals holding misconceptions about its benefits after the tough financial period is thought to be a major underlying cause.

A survey by Totaljobs reveals that the remaining 91% would prefer the private or charity sectors and 47% of their respondents were put off by recent  cuts in the public domain. The public sector used to be a very popular graduate destination and still has positions which offer good training, progression and benefits.

Students comment on how the state of the public sector, in certain areas, is already starting to reflect this view:

‘Many public sector areas are finding a shortage of staff. Take teaching. We need to give incentives for people to go into teaching, and the good pension scheme has been one of those incentives for quite a while. We take away those incentives, we find ourselves even more short for people in those vital positions.’

The benefits of working in the public sector remain, for now, but are overshadowed by job security fears.  Teaching is a popular destination for many graduates but as an extremely demanding career having some of its perks axed may deter assets to the profession from entering it.

Expectations of their future career is also dwindling for unemployed graduates:

  • 82% believe the job market is tougher than two years ago, at the height of the recession.
  • More than half thought they’d be earning £20,000+ in their first graduate role when they started university, this has dropped by 5% for those still studying, bringing the majority to expect less than £19,000.


  • Nearly a quarter spend under an hour on applications.
  • 49% spend 1-2 hours applying for a position.

Despite what sector graduates are interested in pursuing a well put together application increases the chance of standing out to employers. Putting research into what they are applying for not only means a better application but also applying to a position that they will actually enjoy. In relation to the public sector this could mean a pleasant surprise when looking at what this varied area has to offer despite tough financial times.

The figures reported are even more shocking when 20% of recent graduates state they have been looking for work for over a year and close to a third claim they would take any job. The amount of graduates who are straying from public sector jobs could mean a serious lack of talented individuals working in certain areas of it in the future, and it suffering as a result.

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