The Present and Future Graduate MarketIntroduction It is always the desire of every graduate to land an employment opportunity upon graduating. The education through which one acquires working skills is after all meant to prepare an individual for future success at the workplace. There are two types of employments these graduates can enter. The first is to be self employed and the second one is to be employed by private firms or the government agencies. Research into employment trends over more than a century indicates that most graduates prefer to be employed first before they can venture into self employment. This has been attributed to the inadequate experience to run such ventures and the lack of adequate capital to initiate self run projects(Mitra, Abubakar&Sagagi, 2011). Furthermore, some careers demand that one acquires significant amount of experience in employment before starting out on their own. These include mostly careers in the health sector and law. This research report will discuss the graduate market for students graduating in 2012 and what the trend might be for people when they graduate.The state of the Graduate Market The graduate labor market comprises of college graduates seeking employment after school, employers with job opportunities for graduate level skills and career changers reentering the market. The labor market is one of the most dynamic, constantly fluctuating with reference to micro and macro factors in the market and economic forces. It is these factors, among others that determine the employers’ preferences on whom to absorb and this directly affects the prospect of the graduate entering the employed category. The graduate labor market of 2012 differs markedly form say that of early 1990s. At the time, most graduates concentrated on what may be categorized as traditional courses. Every graduate wanted to undertake a course in medicine, engineering or technology related fields. This was informed by the market trends at the time whereby there was high demand for such qualifications in the job market. At present, things have gone full circle with ever rising demand for qualifications in what may be classified as “non-traditional” job categories. The growth of industries such as tourism has facilitated the emergence of a market demand for graduates with qualifications to run such an industry. With its diverse interrelation with other sectors, there are increased job openings in hospitality management, conference management, event organization, sports science specialists, beauticians, hoteliers among many others.With the changing graduate labor market, learners have become choosier in the courses they undertake. This has however posed challenges to the graduates too as a course in demand at the college entry time may soon fizzle out of the market adversely affecting the prospects of such a graduate. The competition for the few employment opportunities has not made things any easier(Bridgstock, 2009). A changing trend within the job market is the tendency of many employers to recruit graduates holding any degree irrespective of specialization. This has greatly affected many graduates who may have selected particular subjects while in school hoping that it would make him/her a specialist in that particular field(Tomlinson, 2007). For instance a student who studies a course in engineering may face stiff competition in the labor market as they compete with graduates from other disciplines thereby eliminating the component of competitive advantage. The paradigm shift in the recruitment methodology by the current employers has partly been informed bycomparative training models in institutions of higher learning that have put emphasis on work based learning that ensures graduates acquire hands on experience while still studying(Mason, Williams & Cranmer, 2009). With this type of experience, employers are willing to take in such graduates as they already have background knowledge on workplace related issues (Boden&Nedeva, 2010).Aside from the qualities employers are seeking, the possibility of these opportunities arising is another question altogether. Since the global financial crunch that rocked the world economy recently, the chances for graduates landing a job are becoming minimal by the day. All is however not gloomy as predictions in the United Kingdom (UK) indicate. With the slow recovery from the recession, the country is recording more job opportunities compared to last year. Despite earlier predictions that unemployment would continue rising, UK recorded a surge in employment of university leavers at the turn of the year 2011(High Fliers, 2012).In the United States, unemployment rate dropped from around nine percent to about eight percent in 2011. The unexpected drop in unemployment rates was surprising putting into consideration the stagnation that has been recorded in gross domestic product following the global recession. Since the drop to about 8% in unemployment, the situation has stagnated. This is attributed to a balance between the number of people entering the job market and the rate of absorption into the job market. This is a positive promise for the future. The balance is also an indicator that the more people looking for job opportunities, the higher the level of a qualified labor force and increased optimism. The rate of employment remains relatively stagnant in America and other parts of the world. With more graduates leaving colleges, the upsurge will continue rising and it may take longer time before the economy can reach a performance level that can absorb all job seekers including fresh graduates. Coming from a recession, it can be said that the acceleration in job creation is picking rapidly well with monthly figures indicating better performance than the preceding(McCarthy&Potter, 2012). This means graduates in 2012 may enter a market that is not overly constrained but still not adequately stable to absorb all.Inevitably, setbacks are expected in the economic recovery due to varied market forces. The political instability that has characterized the Arab world could affect oil prices negatively impacting on business performance(O’Sullivan, 2012). There is a need for stakeholders especially policymakersto continue keenly observing labor trends and make adjustments where necessary to ensure the momentum is not lost(Gileard, 2011).According to arecent surveyin the United States, it is expected that up to more than nine percent of fresh graduates will be recruited this year in comparison to last year. The survey shows that economic forecasts indicate an upward trend especially among private recruiters. An emerging trend of recruitment drives by firms in campus job fairs is one of the positive indicators yet that a significant number of fresh graduates could enter the job market more easily compared to other years.Recent national reports had indicated this trend and a fifty percent increase in recruitment firms willing to recruit fresh graduates has been recorded. The national Association of Colleges and Employers carried a survey which indicated that employers would be more willing to hire fresh graduates(Gordon, 2012).The good news was that the recruitment would cut across all sectors. This is a reason for optimism among college students of their prospects of securing their dream jobs or even career starting opportunities as opposed to previous years when finishing school would be a scary experience. The report indicated further that the starting salaries for these graduates averaged $36,000 for business and social courses and about $55,000 for engineering majors. Another survey by the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University projected a seven percent increase in employment rates for graduates. This could reverse the trend of graduates returning back home to stay with parents or opting to pursue further studies in face of unemployment(Gordon, 2012). This trend has been attributed to the current state whereby overqualified graduates are infiltrating the job market and end up being under employed(Whitaker &Zenker, 2011).ConclusionThe state of the graduate market now and the predictions for the future upon graduation seems to be undergoing myriad changes. A look at the employer requirements for qualifications to the economic projections, it is evident that both current and future job opportunities for graduates remain an area of concern. With more graduates leaving college, it would only be appropriate if they would acquire job opportunities. This may however not be easily possible since only limited chances exist. Despite the positive prospectus indicated by various surveys at the national level, it still remains a challenge to absorb all graduates. Employer apathy may make it difficult for fresh graduates to enter the job market as majority of the employers still prefer recruiting experienced personnel who offer assurance in work quality. With continued efforts by the government to regulate both macro and micro environmental factors that affect economic performance, it is expected that both government agencies and private entrepreneurs could record improved performance. This would then be possibly translated into employment opportunities for the millions of graduates leaving institutions of higher learning.