A row has erupted over whether graduate ‘job snobs’ should take anything they can get or hold out for a position where their degree is appreciated, after a graduate told the Guardian that her attitude towards low-skilled, poorly paid jobs has shifted dramatically since she finished her degree.

In her article Students who scoff at lowly cafe jobs are in for a shock, history graduate Laura Kay describes the sharp contast between the attitudes of undergraduates who come into the Sheffield cafe where she works, and her own attitude towards her job. She writes:

“Although attitudes among graduates are certainly changing, as increasing numbers find themselves working in unexpected environments, there remains a feeling that when you finish university, you’ll be different. I know because I thought this too. The real stigma of low-skilled work most often comes in the form of an “it’s fine for them but not for me” mentality.

“You can have the perfect A-levels, an arts degree from a Russell Group university and all the ambition in the world, but you also have to be willing to put in the graft — and perhaps not in your first choice of career. Graduates need to realise that in this economic climate we have to work twice as hard to get where we want to be. A “graduate job” may no longer be quite what it used to be but it doesn’t mean that there isn’t work out there.

“…As employment minister Esther McVey helpfully pointed out, us young people have got to be willing to take jobs at Costa Coffee and not just expect to walk into our dream profession. Well, there is no danger of that, not in the north of England during a recession.

“In fact, graduates are likely to get a real shock when entering the world of employment, realising those loans weren’t just free wine money and that there are thousands of people applying for just 300 jobs at a new Asda. It turns out that minimum wage jobs are actually gold dust.”

While Graduate Fog admires Laura’s work ethic – and her frankness and honesty when writing this article – is it just us or is there something sad about this piece too?

Purely because of the economic circumstances into which she has graduated (beyond her control), Laura seems to have accepted that the value of her talents has been reduced. When jobs are scarce, this is what many graduates are being told – but we remain unconvinced that it is true. After all, the businesses that are doing well are prepared to pay handsomely for the best graduates around.

Is it fair that graduates who hope to find well-paid, challenging roles after completing their degree are being labelled ‘job snobs’? Or is it reasonable that having invested your money, hard work and time in gaining a degree, graduates can expect that it should ‘buy’ you a job that’s that’s challenging, well-paid and has good future prospects? Should you lower your expectations – or stay focused on achieving your ambitions?


Having just invested tens of thousands of pounds and three years of work in your degree, isn’t it fair to expect a role with decent pay and prospects? Or do you think graduates need to adjust their expectations about the kind of role they are likely to get? Have your say below…

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap