By Claire West

Graduate unemployment has risen to its highest level for 17 years. According to a recent study, the graduate class of 2009 found that 8.9 percent were out of work in January 2010, the highest unemployment level since 1993.

According to the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU) survey, the graduate unemployment rate has risen with just over 21,000 students known to have been out of work in January. Graduates are entering into a bleak employment market with many of them now looking for alternatives.

A recent study conducted by mobile-giants Orange involving 1,000 university leavers found that one-in-ten graduates were planning to start their own business straight after graduation.

Graduate employment trends

Further trends have shown that remote working is now highly regarded amongst graduates. Remote working was once viewed as a privilege but is now viewed as a must, and 2010 has seen a surge in the acceptance of Cloud computing technology and devices such as smartphones and tablet PC’s that have made remote working even easier. Cloud technology has enabled employees to access work files and emails whether they are at a remote location or on the move.

The study conducted by Orange found 69 percent of graduates stressed the importance of flexible working when looking for jobs. The study also found that graduates have specific expectations of their future employers, with nearly half of the students expecting to be able to access work files and email remotely.

Students were not the only people expressing the need for remote working. A survey conducted by authentication outfit GrIDsure demonstrates that workforces are undergoing rapid changes in work behavior, making the traditional nine-to-five office hours a thing of the past.

The study found that 68 percent described home working as an important part of overall job satisfaction; however 15 percent with suitable jobs said they could work remotely, but were prevented from doing so by their employer. For those employers looking to employ the best staff they need to accommodate remote working as the trend will only gain momentum with new job seekers (so called Generation Y) expecting this option when applying for jobs.

Chris Papa, Managing Director for communications specialist company Qubic, said, “This generation are far more tech savvy than their predecessors. Generation Y expects to work on the move and want access to work files and emails when they’re not in the office. This is a generation that has been using mobile phones and the internet most of their adult life; they write blogs, listen to iPods, use the latest smartphones and social networking is the norm. Enabling this type of working technology for the new generation of employees is now a vital asset to businesses who are looking to engage with future talent.”

Papa added “This surge in remote working is an area that will only continue to increase in popularity, who knows what it may hold for the future. What is clear is that the way we work is being driven into a new era as technology continues to evolve.”