NZ has plenty of graduates; we just can’t give them jobs

By Wright Communications

The 20 something's survey has revealed that almost 60 per cent of those in their 20's have a degree or tertiary qualification, and another 20 per cent are currently working towards achieving this.

Spencer Willis, Director of Youth Insights at Colmar Brunton and leader of the study, says: "With all of these young adults with tertiary qualifications and degrees, how many are actually getting into paid employment once they graduate?

"Companies are now looking for something more than just a degree, they need to see a Masters or a post graduate qualification to even consider applicants for certain positions."

Willis believes that the requirement for ever high qualifications is having a large impact on New Zealand's workforce. It's also giving graduates unrealistic expectations of starting salaries as many believe they deserve more money for all their hard work. Not to mention the need to pay off hefty student debts incurred from five or more years of tertiary education.

Many recent graduates have found that unless they make solid contacts and gain work experience, which is often unpaid, while at university, they will still lack the skills that New Zealand employers are looking for.

Samantha McConnell from AUT University says: "In my experience there were not enough jobs out there! So many rejections; no interviews. I eventually got a three-week temp job, but it wasn't in the field that I am qualified in."

Another recent graduate with a Bachelor of Education in Primary Teaching with Honours said she "applied for about 15 jobs and got two interviews but all the schools want people with experience. How are you supposed to get experience when no one will employ you?"

New Zealand is also unable to offer junior positions for graduates to gain experience. Young graduates are seeking opportunities in Australia, where the average income is 35 per cent higher than New Zealand's, according to the 2025 Taskforce report.

The 20 something's survey also found that females view getting paid, getting a compliment at work and winning a pay rise, as more important than marriage and children.

Males in their 20's are also interested in getting a pay rise but they are also eager to start a family and get married before they reach 35 years of age.

"Females seem to be much more focused on achieving a smaller number of goals in the next two to three years and there is a strong focus on earning respect within the workplace. The friction between the male desire for fatherhood and the female priorities could be challenging," said Willis.

Colmar Brunton Youth interviewed almost 500 people in their 20's in January of this year. The survey has a maximum margin of error of + or - 4.3%.


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