The past 10 years have seen the graduate experience shift dramatically. We’ve all read the articles claiming a crisis for young workers seeking fruitful employment following university. The zero hour contracts and the PHD student working in Starbucks have left us all wondering: Why go to university at all?
A new survey conducted by Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) has good news for graduates however, as according to new findings graduate unemployment is falling.
Researchers asked more than 82,000 people who graduated in 2011 about their employment in November 2014 and 88% were working.
Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson have described the findings as “a further welcome sign”. (BBC website)
The last time graduate employment was this low was 2008, among graduates who left university in 2005, according to the available data.
Those surveyed in 2010 were less fortunate, with only 86.4% in work three years after leaving University in 2007.
Professor Ebdon, director of Fair Access to Higher Education, has argued the results highlight the importance of higher education being available to those from disadvantaged backgrounds so that they can “accrue the life-changing benefits it can bring”. The professor also stated, however, that despite “significant progress” in this area, students from disadvantaged backgrounds were two-and-a-half times less likely to enter higher education than those from the most advantaged backgrounds.
An article published by The Guardian on the other hand has argued a different view of current graduate employment. It would seem that graduates are increasingly employed, however in lower-skilled jobs and are wasting their potential.
According to Katie Allen:
“The trade group for the human resources sector said graduate over-qualification has reached “saturation point” and is squeezing lower qualified workers out of jobs.” (The Guardian)
Katie Allen and Professor Ebdon seem to be of the same mind, that despite improving figures the reality is not entirely reflected in the results.
That being said, The Guardian does conclude with this positive paragraph:
“But more recent figures have pointed to an improving jobs market for graduates and the latest findings on those who left university last summer showed professional employment was up and salaries were higher. Two-thirds of graduates from full-time degrees were in posts classified as “professional employment”, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa).”
The message appears to be, therefore, be cautiously optimistic recent graduates. The troubled times are passing and with a little more time and the continuing increase of graduates in graduate employment, those degrees will be worth their weight in tuition fees!