Graduate unemployment has fallen by the largest amount in 15 years, according to the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU).
HECSU’s annual survey ‘what do graduates do?’ analyses the destinations of over 250,000 full and part-time first degree graduates in January 2014, six months after they left university. The survey reported that unemployment fell from 8.5% to 7.3% year-on-year, with 75.6% of graduates in employment, marking the biggest drop in early graduate unemployment in 15 years.
Last year’s construction graduates enjoyed an employment rate of 89.7% and an unemployment rate of just 4.8% – far higher than the 70% average employment rate for graduates of all subjects, who also had an unemployment rate of 7.3%.
The survey also found that the proportion of respondents in professional and managerial work increased from 64.9% to 66.3%. However, the percentage of graduates in non-professional jobs in sectors such as retail and catering fell marginally from 13.7% to 13%.
The number of graduates working as science professionals increased by 22.4% year-on-year. The employment outcomes for graduates with first degrees in building and engineering were particularly positive, with 83.6% of architecture graduates in employment.
However, the survey suggests that only 64.7% of 2013 graduates in this category found jobs in their degree subject field, compared to 76.5% of civil engineering graduates.
12.3% took up managerial, business, HR and finance roles, compared to 9.2% in the civil engineering category.
Charlie Ball, deputy director of research at HECSU, said: “The last 18 months are a fascinating example of how quickly the market can change, with graduates from construction-related subjects enjoying one of the most dramatic improvements in their employment outcomes.
“The variations in the employment rates of these graduates reflect the complex relationship between the construction industry and the economy. Students must bear this in mind when deciding which subject to study. It’s vital that they seek careers advice early and take work experience to better inform their decisions and prepare for employment.”
To access the full report, click here.