A new branch of Costa has been flooded with 1,701 CVs – for just eight shop-based jobs. In a startling reminder of the tough competition for jobs in 2013, the coffee chain revealed that applicants included numerous graduates struggling to find employment after finishing university – and even a senior retail manager with 15 years’ retail experience.

A Costa spokesperson confirmed the chain was astonished by the response to their adverts for three full-time and five part-time jobs in the coffee shop in Mapperley, Nottingham, paying between £6.10 and £10 an hour. Sham Ramparia, Costa’s manager for the Midlands, said:

“Many had a background in retail and some of them were senior retail managers at the likes of Comet and HMV with about 10 to 15 years of experience. Many applicants were hugely over-qualified.

“It seems to be a barometer of two things – the current market and the strength of our brand.

“We only listed the jobs advertisement on one website and put a sign up on the building while we were renovating it but the applications just came flooding in.

“I was amazed at the level of interest. It just shows how hard times are.”

Meanwhile, new figures from the Office of National Statistics reported a jump in overall employment (the number of people in jobs) and a drop in the number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance – results even the work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith admitted seemed “remarkable”. But there was bad news too – youth unemployment has risen by 11,000. Between September and November 2012, 957,000 people aged 16-24 were unemployed, and that was before the collapse of several chains employing young people went into administration in 2013, including HMV, Blockbuster, Jessops and Republic. Frances O’Grady, the TUC general secretary, said the figures indicated a jobs crisis that was hitting young people particularly hard:

“These figures show just how desperate people are for any kind of work. Ministers claim there are plenty of jobs out there but the reality is that there are far more people chasing those jobs.

“That’s why, rather than demonising unemployed people as scroungers, we need to get the economy growing and support them into work.”

Serious questions are now being asked about the government’s plan to help young people into paid, stable jobs – as some predict youth unemployment, which had been dropping, will top a million once again in 2013. After the collapse in confidence around the controversial Work Programme, is it time for a complete re-think on jobs for young people?

How hard is it for graduates to find employment in 2013? How many of your friends are still hunting for work after finishing university? Do you have faith in the government’s plans to help young people into jobs – or should the politicians be doing more?

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