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I was wondering if anyone here has experienced prolonged unemployment after graduating?

I completed my bachelors in 2015 (physics), graduating with a first. I couldn't get onto a graduate scheme and ended up working stop-gap jobs (retail, temping, teaching assistant work).

I was then offered a full stipend to study an MSc in nuclear science. I completed that in 2019. It has now been a year since I graduated and I am stuck in the same situation again. I have applied for nuclear jobs but it is a very niche area and I lack experience. It seems that my only hope to enter the industry is to apply through graduate schemes but the competition is always fierce.

I have no network and no way to apply for jobs except online (which seems more pointless the more I do it). I contacted lectures at my old universities but no one could help me.

In September I will sit the GAMSAT and apply for medical school, but the odds are against me and at my age (32) I feel like it is my last chance. It feels ridiculous to say that as I still feel very young and inexperienced.

I don't know what to do. I don't see myself in teaching (due to pupil behaviour and other issues teachers face). I'm not afraid to study again but I am sick of it as I feel like I have spent my whole life studying...

Second thoughts about starting a PhD

I have a BSc in physics and an MSc in nuclear science.

Honestly, if you can get a job as a quant (I am assuming you live in London), then do that.

You say you can see your friends moving on now, but in 4 years time the gap between yourself and your peers will be a chasm. I'm someone who has been unemployed for long periods of time and I know how essential it is to get a solid start in life. Employers are very picky.

However, it is also very hard to get a good job these days and the economy in the UK is going through a bad period. In the past I have been rejected by more graduate schemes than I can remember. When I graduated I was naive and thought I could get a cool job at Shell or BP which would utilise my scientific knowledge... either in the field or in the finance side of things (trading). Upon searching Linkedin I realised that the people who got those graduate jobs had done internships in these companies (usually during the second year of their maths or physics degree).

I am almost tempted myself to choose a nice university (Nottingham or York look nice) and do a physics PhD and just forget about the outside world... however it's probably different for me as I am 32 and the gap on my CV will become even bigger (I just have lots of temp work).

I'm not doing a very good job at explaining myself here but the bottom line is this - a PhD won't necessarily make you more employable. In fact it will probably do the opposite. It's extremely difficult to compete in the graduate job market without relevant experience.

However... if you think you would really love to do the PhD then do it. You could ride out the current economic crisis whilst studying... however 4 years is also a very long time and a PhD is a big undertaking.