Schools Training

Which graduates find jobs most easily? And who’s earning the big money?

7 FEB 2014

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There hasn’t been much good news for university-leavers over the past four years, but it looks like things might be about to change. A survey released last week found that nine in 10 graduates of the class of 2008-09 have found work, despite graduating at the onset of the economic crisis. And, this summer, a survey of the 100 largest graduate employers also suggested that recruitment is on the mend. The number of vacancies being advertised is up 4.6% according to the survey, which – although below pre-recession levels – is the highest rate seen since 2008.

“It’s definitely a tough market out there,” says Stephen Isherwood, chief executive of the Association of Graduate Recruiters. “But employers are still investing in graduate talent. While there’s no actual growth in those figures, at least we’re getting back on to an even keel.”

Which sectors are hiring?

Recruitment levels vary from one sector to the next, says Isherwood. “The public sector, engineering, retail and consulting are advertising more vacancies. The IT and telecoms sector has also increased recruitment year on year. The banks, on the other hand, still aren’t hiring as many people as before the recession. Law recruitment is also pretty flat.”

Statistics released by the Higher Education Statistics Authority (Hesa) show that, of the graduates leaving full-time degree courses in 2008-09, 18.8% found work in the health and social work sector, while 14.1% are now in the professional, scientific and technical industry (which includes anything from bookkeeping, to architectural services or legal advice). The biggest source of employment for graduates was the education sector – where more than a quarter (25.5%) now work.

Teach First, but what later?

This influx of graduates into schools is partly down to Teach First, a non-profit organisation which fast-tracks students from top universities into teaching careers in state schools. It was the largest recruiter of graduates in 2013, when it hired 1,260 university-leavers.

James Darley, director of graduate recruitment at Teach First, says young people are attracted to the scheme because it’s an opportunity to help society. The programme’s popularity also indicates that today’s graduates don’t start out looking for “a job for life”.

“The hot terminology at the moment is ‘portfolio careers’. Many in the field feel that young people will have seven different careers in their lifetime rather than just one or two, as their parents did.”

Not everyone decides to stay in teaching after they’ve completed the programme.

“We’ve been going since 2003 and since then, around 54% of those who could have left after completing the two years, have chosen to stay in the classroom.”


Read full article: The Guardian