Job opportunities in the United Kingdom

Experience abroad is a great way to score points in a job. But what are the chances for German students and graduates? For UNICUM, insiders present the career opportunities in selected countries. This time: Great Britain.

THE JOB MARKET IN GREAT BRITAIN

Like many other European countries, Great Britain is going through hard times. Austerity-Britain is what they call their country on the island, which is struggling with the government’s iron-fisted austerity policy and the effects of the financial crisis. But the unemployment rate is currently falling and was just over 5 percent in February 2015.

Thus, the U.K. offers opportunities for college graduates looking for experience abroad. The job market-especially in the capital, London-is very international and the language barrier is low for most with English. After graduation, the prospects of finding a job are not so bleak. The unemployment rate for graduates is 4.3 percent.

Germans are popular as workers, explains a banker from the City, London’s financial district. “They deliver 100 percent.” So the stereotype of the hardworking, proper German doesn’t seem to be a hindrance when trying to find a job.

JOB SEARCH AND APPLICATION IN GREAT BRITAIN

“Above all, those who already have initial work experience through internships or other jobs are popular with employers,” says Kate Murray of The Careers Group at the University of London. Social commitment would also be valued. The industries where most graduates found employment, according to data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, were health and social care, wholesale and retail trade, and construction and housing

“Humanities graduates are having a harder time in the current economic climate,” Murray says. In addition to applying directly for jobs, so-called graduate schemes are a common way to get a professional foothold. Here, university graduates spend two to three years in various positions within the company in return for appropriate pay, and in some cases can also acquire recognized professional qualifications.

Graduate schemes are mainly offered by larger companies and organizations. They often accept graduates from all kinds of disciplines. Good grades and initial work experience are important. For guidance on finding a job, visit www.prospects.ac.uk. Jobs for graduates can be found especially in the newspaper “The Guardian” at www.guardian.co.uk.

Understatement is supposed to be a valued British trait. It’s best to forget that quickly! What counts here is selling yourself well. First rule for the job interview: promise a lot and present yourself well. With a self-confident appearance, you can quickly make up for professional deficiencies.

Germans have to keep in mind that the curriculum vitae is structured differently here and application photos are not considered politically correct. So you can save the money for that.

FURTHER STUDY

British universities offer a wealth of postgraduate courses, some of which are very specialized. If you want to continue your studies, you are sure to find a master’s program that suits your interests. However, studying in the UK is expensive. Depending on the course, degree and university, courses can cost between 1,000 and 20,000 British pounds a year.

The humanities subjects are usually among the less expensive, while management and especially medicine are very expensive. More important here than in Germany is where you studied. A degree from Cambridge or Oxford – often shortened to Oxbridge – is still a sure ticket to coveted jobs in the public and private sectors.

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