The employment rate for new graduates remains relatively stable at 61.8% (62.2% in 2011), indicating that career prospects are better than feared despite a weakening economy and further job losses from public spending cuts, according to research published today (11 October 2012) by the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU).
HECSU’s annual What Do Graduates Do? reports the destinations of 244,680 first degree graduates in January 2012 (six months after they left university). Despite the year-on-year increase in the number of graduates (233,865 in 2011), there were only slight changes to the proportion of those employed and unemployed. The data shows:
- Marginal change in unemployment rate – 8.5% (2011) and 8.6% (2012)
- Some fluctuations for those entering ‘further study’ and ‘working and studying’- 13.5% (2011) and 13.1% (2012), 7.6% (2011) and 8.4% (2012) respectively
- Number of self-employed graduates grown over the recession – 3.3% (2007), 4.4% (2011) and 4.8% (2012)
- Salaries remain consistent – average salary for graduates employed full time is £19,935
The figures show revival in the engineering and IT job markets, which have experienced poor employment outcomes since the start of the recession.
Despite the struggling construction sector, there was an increase in graduates finding employment as engineering professionals. 65.8% of employed mechanical engineering graduates (59.4% in 2011), 36.2% of electrical and electronic graduates (30.9% in 2011) and almost three in five civil engineering graduates (54.6% in 2011) were all working as engineering professionals in January 2012, six months after graduating.
Similar improvements were experienced in IT with an increase of 8.5% in the proportion of employed computer science and IT graduates. Nearly half (47.3%) of those who studied the subject and were in employment became IT professionals. Other common occupations were retail and catering (12.3%), and commercial, industrial and public sector managers (7.5%).
The public sector cuts continue to impact on graduates finding entry level roles, with graduates entering fewer admin jobs in health and education. This year figures also suggest that the availability of front line occupations have been reduced. Those most affected and with the largest year-on-year drop include occupational therapists, physiotherapists, medical radiographers, secondary and primary school teachers, probation officers and social workers.
Charlie Ball, deputy research director at HECSU says: “When graduates from 2011 left university, the labour market was difficult, as the UK economy struggled with negative growth and a dip back into recession. In spite of this and the trouble in the Eurozone, over 166,000 of last year’s graduates were known to be working in the UK six months after leaving university – nearly 8,000 more than the previous year.
“Many of the jobs created during the recession have been with smaller firms and therefore, when looking for vacancies, graduates should not just focus on large organisations but widen their search, taking advantage of local information, careers services and informal contacts. The figures show that even in difficult times, graduates can and do get jobs. Students need to prepare for a difficult jobs market, but there are opportunities out there, so don’t give up hope.”Credit: onrec.com