Math is hard, as Barbie said, but could we try and get the arts people up to speed with simple arithmetic, just as a start?
So, we\’ve this awailin\’ and a cryin\’:
Such debate as has been had about young people and their opportunities has focused exclusively on increased student fees and university numbers. This looks like a serious distraction. However much universities improve on employability issues, it won\’t magic up jobs where none exist.
Youth unemployment needs to be back in the centre of political debate before the boomerang generation becomes the throwaway generation.
So let us start with some simple arithmetic about this youth unemployment then shall we? Let\’s specifically address the problems of graduate unemployment, why not? This piece is, after all, written by an academic:
Ros Coward is a professor of journalism at Roehampton University. She has worked for many years as a freelance journalist, contributing to several national newspapers and magazines
So, how many journalism jobs are there? Ignore the point that you don\’t actually need a degree in anything to write for the papers and just think about those who do a journalism degree as a way of getting into the journalism business.
So, apparently, there\’s 40,000 mainstream journalism jobs in the country.
The report says: \”Based on a revised 2001 baseline estimate of 55,000 to 60,000 jobs in the mainstream media, which would suggest that, as a result of structural and economic changes in the sector, the UK\’s mainstream journalism corps has shrunk by between a quarter and a third (27%-33%) to around 40,000.\”
I don\’t vouch for either of these figures by the way, they\’re just what a quick Google showed up. But the next interesting number is how many people are graduating each year from journalism courses?
Conversely, the number of journalism university graduates has never been higher – 7,590 in 2008/09; that’s 0.60 percent of all UK graduates.
Nel: “The reality is that only a fraction of the many thousands of graduates from UK journalism courses will find a place in the mainstream industry.”
So, back of the envelope here. If we\’ve 40,000 positions and a 40 year career then we need, if we are to restrict entrance only to graduates, 1,000 such each year to replace the retiring part of that static workforce.
We actually have seven and a half times that. So even at best we\’ve 6,500 a year (do note that this leaves out all of those who get into journalism through family contacts, editing Isis and all that) who have graduated and simply will not be able to find a job in what they\’ve graduated in.
This isn\’t math and it isn\’t hard, this is arithmetic and it\’s easy.
What we have is too many journalism graduates: and thus too many journalism professors looking for work teaching them. Part of the solution is therefore for Ms. Coward to lose her job.
Along with, if we are to be honest, a very large part of the newly expanded higher education system. For this oversupply of graduates is not confined to journalism.
As the staffing of every Starbucks in the country shows.