The Italian crisis seen from postgraduate students in Milan
How long do today’s youths have to study to reach their career goals? How much internship do they need to do before getting a job? These are the questions everyone was wondering to ask at the Career day, yesterday at the public University of Milan.
The event was made to put in contact students and recruiter from different companies. Danone, L’Oréal, McDonald’s, Polymedia, Allianz, Birra Peroni were some of the 100 national and international brands represented in the main cloister of the building. At 11.30, young people asking for consultation and leaving CVs surrounded every stand.
Monica, 22-years-old student of marketing, was totally excited: “I wish I printed more copies of my CV, I’d give it to half the desks here!” However, a part from her and a few second-year-students, disappointment was in the air.
Applying for as many positions as possible is one of the most popular strategies. Sadly, the competition is so high that you never know how many companies will respond. “They told me they’ll let me know as soon as possible, but I don’t know if they’ll even look at my profile,” said Francesco, 24, student of pharmacy.
In this period of economic crisis, companies prefer to recruit a lot of motivated and cheap students, and don’t even consider the possibility to employ them. Free work for six months, no holidays, and low expenses: perfect. These were the talks you could hear from the guys lining at the front desks.
Apparently, if you don’t know someone that can give you a job, you need to work hard and accept that it takes some internships – and luck also – to find an employment.
Choosing the right position among all these offers is not so easy as it seems: often most of the chances are for people who have some experience in commerce, while other fields are inaccessible. “I’m graduated in communication and I’m looking for an internship, but all the stuff here is for students of economics,” said Marco, 23.
Wandering around the stands, I found some interesting associations like “The city of jobs and professions”, a centre providing assistance to young people that need to plan their lives.
The problem is that often, one knows what he wants his career to be, but he cannot see an end to the long sequence of internships. “They say it’s easier to be employed if you enter the company as an intern,” said Marta, 25, student of literature.
The perspective is to work unpaid for at least two stages of 6 months. And often there’s not even a reasonable refund for the expenses.
A couple of websites, the “Republic of interns” and “Walkonjob”, keep on discussions about these themes and publish useful information to help students finding “fair” internships and, hopefully, an occupation.
“The thing is”, said Vittoria, 29, “that you don’t have to give up and stick to your studies”. She has been studying History of Art for three years, and got a part time job in a call centre to earn some money – and after a year was promoted starting a career in that company. “I was so disappointed because I couldn’t find anything I liked in the field of art. But I didn’t want to give up and worked hard until I managed to improve my position,” she added, proudly.
The economic situation of the country – and of Europe in general – doesn’t help, and it’s hard to find any kind of employment, especially in the humanistic field. But it’s not totally impossible, and going abroad is not always the smartest solution. Sometimes it’s useful to be flexible and try new positions, even if they don’t match perfectly with your studies.
Anyway, summing up what emerged from my visit of yesterday, the alternative here is between looking for an internship and starting other master degrees. Your choice.