Despite having tougher employment prospects, employment statistics for last year’s graduates still proved to be “much better than feared” as they do not show a significant difference from the year before despite being expected to fare worse in the midst of a weak economy and spending cuts.
According to a Higher Education Careers Service Unit (Hecsu) study the employment rate remained “relatively stable” at 61.8 per cent against the previous year’s 62.2 per cent. Overall, the unemployment rate was at 8.6 per cent compared to the previous year’s 8.5 per cent. Fourteen per cent opted to pursue higher study with the rest doing training while working and other activities. The data from the study reflected the career paths students took after leaving university in 2011.
Despite the rise in the number of graduates and a struggling economy, the jobs market still proved to be resilient. Around one in five of all recent university graduates who found work in the UK begin their career in London, which has the biggest share of the jobs market, followed by the south-east of England. In contrast, the least number of graduates chose to work in the North East and east midlands. Signs also point to more young graduates being self-employed.
The most common career path is in retail, catering and bar staff, accounting for 15 per cent of recent graduates. Health sector jobs accounted for 13 per cent, business and financial jobs were at 8 per cent while 7 per cent went for careers in media and design.
The Hecsu research supports previous studies showing that in the long term, students who earned a degree are likely to earn better and less likely to be unemployed compared to non-graduates. The survey data also show a changing trend in the jobs market, showing more demand for graduates and skilled workers.