Starting your Life After University – The Key Considerations

In the year ending September 2017, there were an estimated 14 million graduates in the UK. However, the graduate unemployment rate remains marginally higher than the national average, and this is a huge concern for students or those who have recently completed their higher education.

At the end of 2016, the graduate unemployment rate in the UK was 5.3%, whereas the corresponding number for the rest of the country averaged out at 4.7%.

While finding work and launching a successful career is arguably the most important consideration for new graduates, it’s by no means the only one. Here are some of the other things to keep in mind:

1. Understanding the True Nature of the UK Job Market

Further research into the UK job market is crucial for graduates, who must understand the importance of transferable skills and the real-time needs of employers.

One of the most recent trends revolved around an increasingly transient workforce, which demands flexibility from graduates and requires them to shift between alternative (but similar) careers.

As a result of this, graduates must not only develop the type of transferable skills that can be applied across multiple positions, but they must also be open to change and regular career transitions.

It’s also important to understand that successful careers are scaled over time, and graduates may need to start modestly in a bid to gain practical experience and become more valuable to employers. 

2. Debunking the Myths Surrounding Student Loans

The hyperbole surrounding student loans is incredible, with sensationalist tales of graduates leaving university with more than £50,000 worth of debt now commonplace.

However, these numbers are largely meaningless by themselves, and it’s impossible to appraise the true impact of student, short-term and unsecured borrowing without the necessary context.

With this in mind, it’s important to remember that student loans do not need to be repaid immediately, with a 9% levy applied to earnings above £25,000 (or £2,083 per month). If you earn less than this amount, you won’t have to pay anything back to the government.

This threshold is also increasing to £25,725 in April next year, so the financial challenge facing graduates is not as bad as the headlines suggest.

3. The Importance of Retirement Planning

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The long-term savings crisis in the UK has been widely reported of late, with an estimated 77% of Brits claiming to have no idea of when they’ll retire or how they’ll cope financially in their old age.

This is particularly worrying for the current generation of graduates, with around 7.8 million Millennials struggling to build wealth and lay the foundations that will help them to achieve their future financial goals.

The key for graduates is to start planning for their retirement from the moment that they enter the job market, as they optimise their pension contributions and look to commit as much of their earnings to savings as possible.

By starting the retirement planning process as a new graduate, it’s possible to spread the cost of savings across a longer period of time and create more manageable goals.

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