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Graduates Finding More Jobs Than Ever Before

22 Oct 2015

Graduates Finding More Jobs Than Ever Before

UK graduates now have more jobs than ever before and they are managing to find them within a shorter timeframe too.

The latest annual research on graduate jobs by Prospects and AGCAS (The Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services) also reveals that unemployment amongst graduates is now lower (6.3 percent) than at any time since before the recession and that more university leavers are finding graduate jobs at the professional level.

The Prospects report What do graduates do? is carried out every year, and the report for January 2015 which has just been released shows that six percent more graduates than last year had found a job within six months of finishing their degree. That amounts to just a fraction short of 200,000 out of 268,000 university leavers who had secured work within half a year after graduation.

Over the twelve months from January 2014 and January 2015 the employment rate for new graduates rose from 75.6 percent to 76.6 percent according to the figures.

Over two thirds of graduates were now working in a professional-level job (ie a position that requires a degree), up to 68.2 percent from 66.13 percent twelve months ago, meaning that over 11,000 more graduates had found better graduate jobs than last year. Over the period there was a significant decline in graduates taking up office job, sales positions and retail work for which a degree was not a requirement.

Perhaps surprisingly, statistically, Sports Science seems to be the degree to study if you don’t want to be an unemployed graduate shortly after leaving university. Just 4.3 percent of Sports Science degree holders had failed to find a job six month after graduating, compared with 11.4 percent of Computer Science graduates. Likewise, Civil Engineering seems to be a secure route into graduate employment, with more than 7 in 10 graduates from that degree securing full time employment within six months of graduation.

Average graduate salaries have also risen, albeit only by a small percentage, to £20,637 in January 2015. However, graduates working as engineers, finance managers, dentists, doctors, pilots, armed forces officers and in selected other professions could boast an average salary in excess of £25,000.

London is still a major draw for graduates, with more than one in five university leavers heading for the capital to start a new job in the city. Other cities popular with graduate job hunters include Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Oxford and Sheffield.

A knock-on effect revealed in the figures is that with more jobs up for grabs in the graduate market, there has been a decline in the number of students going on to enrol in postgraduate degrees, with fewer than 18 percent of graduates now choosing to take that career route.

President of AGCAS, Eluned Jones, said: “It's encouraging to see this continued rise in graduate employability and we especially welcome the strong outcomes in students gaining graduate-level employment. This demonstrates the commitment of everyone working towards the employability agenda in universities, including careers services, students, academics, professional services and employers - all of whom play a vital part in this journey.”

And, commenting further on the research, Prospects’ head of higher education intelligence, Charlie Ball, said: “For this year’s graduates the outlook is as good as it has been since before the recession, most graduates will get jobs quickly, and the large majority of those jobs will require a university education.

“But although the graduate jobs market has improved significantly over the last couple of years, that doesn’t mean graduates can just walk into a job. They will still have to work hard to get the jobs they want. They can get excellent support from their university – careers services have also worked hard during the recession and these improved graduate outcomes are also a testament to the quality of the advice and guidance offered to students,” warned Mr Ball.

The outlook for young people generally is also starting to look a little more rosy, with fewer than 15 percent of 16 to 24 year olds currently unemployed, down from 22.5 percent four years ago and only one percent higher than the worst pre-recession year. The proportion of Neets (young people not in work, education or training) is now at its lowest level in ten years.

If you are still trying to find work as a graduate then we could be advertising the perfect job in your town or city today. Why not check out the latest opportunities now in our Graduate Vacancies section?

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