Tough market for students seeking work

19:28, Nov 19 2012
Daniel Whitfield, a journalism graduate, is struggling to find work
JOB HUNTING: Daniel Whitfield, a journalism graduate, is struggling to find work.

As thousands of Waikato students finish exams and go in search of summer work, employment figures show there may be tough times ahead for many.

The latest statistics from Student Job Search (SJS) reveal that more students are enrolling to find work, but fewer are securing employment.

Waikato students enrolled with SJS through the year to the end of October reached 1939 - a 38 per cent increase on the same period last year, when 1410 enrolled.

The numbers of students placed in work through SJS are down 12 per cent this year, with 1218 placed in 2011 and 1076 in 2012.

Waikato Student Union president Sapphire Gillard said that although she hoped most students would find employment over summer, the latest SJS figures may indicate tough times ahead.

"I think it's going to be difficult," she said.


Mrs Gillard said some students enrolled in summer school to ensure student allowance income throughout the break. However financial stresses were mounting because of recent changes to student allowances, with some students worrying they may not receive enough support from the government to complete their studies.

"If they've got four years and they do summer school they might find that part way through their final year they may not be financially supported by the government," she said.

And if students find themselves in too much financial strife, Mrs Gillard said some were likely to discontinue their studies.

Recent Media Arts graduate Daniel Whitfield, 22, said he had been looking for jobs for about six months while he had been studying, but the job market was tough.

"I think you sort of get limited job offers if you are a student," he said.

"Maybe it's just because of the whole ideology that students are the partiers and only weekend workers and I guess that sort of limits potential jobs."

Mr Whitfield said even as a graduate the job market was difficult and if push came to shove he may consider going back and doing post-graduate study.

"I think if it was a year that I was out of work then I probably would," he said. "Either going into another kind of study or furthering the degree that I have already done."

Unemployment in the wider Waikato community is falling.

The number out of work in the Waikato region fell to 6 per cent in the September quarter, from 6.9 per cent in the June quarter - bucking a nationwide trend of rising unemployment rates.


The latest labour statistics indicate a rise in online job listings in October.

Jobs Online shows, in seasonally adjusted terms, skilled job vacancies increased 5.6 per cent in October, following a fall in September. Similarly, all job vacancies rose 4.7 per cent in October, following a fall in September.

Over the year to October 2012, skilled vacancies increased in most industry groups. The demand for skilled workers was the strongest in construction and engineering, with a 39.1 per cent rise, followed by health and medical (up 22.7 per cent) and hospitality and tourism (up 20.4 per cent).

There are 92 jobs listed in Waikato on the Student Job Search website, along with 664 Waikato listings on and 626 on Trade Me.

Admittedly some of the jobs are a little less than desirable - for instance getting paid minimum wage to scan groceries while your mates are at the beach - but some of them sound like dream jobs, like earning between $30 and $100 an hour planning parties, or $15 an hour making chocolate and candy.

There are also countless barista and waitress jobs going at the beaches, along with retail work and labouring.

Waikato Times