With growing numbers of young people leaving university each year and the competition for jobs increasing, it can be difficult for graduates to find work. That’s why I was so pleased to learn the results of a new study, reported by On Rec, which shows that a record number of graduates are in employment after obtaining their degree.
According to Prospect’s annual ‘What do graduates do?’ report, the number of UK graduates in work six months after graduating was up 6% from last year, totalling 199,810. What’s even more impressive is that this figure marks the highest recorded number of new graduates entering the UK workforce.
The report, published last month, revealed the occupations of 267,735 full- and part-time graduates in January 2015 – six months after finishing their studies.
The findings clearly indicate that the graduate recruitment market is on the mend following the recession. As well as the graduate employment rate rising by 1% between January 2014 and January this year, unemployment rates also fell by 1% to 6.3% – a number not reached since 2008.
It’s interesting to note that not all of these graduate jobs are in London. Despite being the most common location for graduates, with more than a fifth (21.3%) finding work there, the South East and North West each employed an additional 10% of graduates; while cities including Manchester, Birmingham, Oxford, Bristol, Edinburgh and Liverpool employed thousands of graduates during this time.
It’s also reassuring to see more graduates entering professional roles that call for a degree. The majority (68.2%) of graduates entered professional-level employment requiring a degree, marking an almost 2% rise from 2014.
Charlie Ball – Prospects’ head of higher education intelligence – noted that this group of university leavers began their studies during the recession, when “the outlook for graduates was the worst it had been for a generation.” But their hard work and efforts to make themselves employable “have been rewarded.”
The outlook is now as positive as it was before the recession, with most graduates finding work quickly and the majority of those jobs requiring higher education. However, despite significant improvements to the graduate jobs market, Ball advised “that doesn’t mean graduates can just walk into a job. They will still have to work hard to get the jobs they want.”
I’m so encouraged to see the prospects for graduates improving significantly at long last. It’s been an uphill struggle for graduates to find employment commensurate with their qualifications since the recession began, and many have been forced to accept unskilled jobs or have even had to pay in order to gain relevant work experience from unscrupulous firms.
It is heartening to see the scales tipping to a more even balance, so that the latest graduates who have invested £9,000 a year in their university education get the chance to realise their ambitions.