The graduate job market
There are a lot of negative headlines about an unstable economy, high unemployment, and an army of graduates struggling to find work. The statistics about graduate employment, however, paint a rather different picture to that found in the media. The Higher Education Statistics Agency collect, analyse and disseminate all sorts of data about higher education and their report on the destinations of graduates makes for interesting reading:
FACT VS FICTION
One of the main findings of the research was that the graduate unemployment rate has risen by only 2-3% since the economic crisis, a far lower figure than that portrayed by the media. The infographic below shows what graduates were doing after university in 2010/2011*:
The figure of those assumed or confirmed to be unemployed is around 9%, and a more recent study by HECSU** has pitched this at 8.6% (including those due to start employment within a month). The vast majority of graduates are in employment. This figure includes those on internships, volunteer placements and those who are self-employed.
Many graduates choose to continue their studies and enrol onto postgraduate programmes. These might include job-specific courses like the Graduate Diploma in Law, the Post-graduate Certificate in Education or a variety of academic Masters courses. Others manage to combine their employment with part-time studies.
So what kinds of jobs do graduates end up doing? The chart below can give us some idea:
According to the data, most graduates find full-time employment. Of those who do, the majority work in professional occupations and associate professional and technical occupations: jobs which they wouldn’t have been able to get without their degree.
A smaller number of graduates take part-time employment, fewer are self-employed and fewer still are working in voluntary and unpaid positions like internships.
As you can see, while the job market for graduates is certainly more competitive than before, the likelihood is that you will get a good job. This however depends on a degree of commitment, hard work, and a willingness to take on new challenges and opportunities. Our next page will detail how to improve your prospects while at university and turn yourself into an irresistible employee.
*Source: “HESA Destination of leavers from Higher Education Institutions 2010/11“. Reproduced by permission of the Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited. HESA cannot accept responsibility for any conclusions or inferences derived from the data by third parties.
**For more information about graduate pathways, read the research publication What do graduates do? by the Higher Education Careers Services Unit. It summarises a research project done on 2010/11 graduates 6 months after graduation and includes subject-specific employment prospects, regional employment overviews, further study options, and so on.
Check out Which University’s guide to the Myths and Realities about graduate employment