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Unemployment rate for graduates at its lowest for 39 years

Universities UK has responded to the latest report from Prospects showing that the unemployment rate for graduates six months after leaving university is at its lowest for 39 years.

The report finds that skills shortages across many industries appear to have helped job prospects, with increases in those entering professional jobs across all degree subjects.

Main findings from the latest What do graduates do? report include:

  • Graduate unemployment rate fell to 5.1%

  • Salaries increase 2.9%

  • 7,895 more graduates in professional roles

Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said the Prospects data provides more evidence of the high demand for graduates:

"The Prospects data shows that employer demand for graduates is growing. We know that employers value the broad skills graduates develop at university across a wide range of subjects and levels. Educating more people of all ages at university would grow our economy faster – addressing skills shortages and increasing productivity, competitiveness, and innovation.

"Going to university is also a good investment for students. Graduate salaries are, on average, almost £10,000 a year higher than for non-graduates, and graduates are significantly more likely to be in employment. Universities also provide graduates with skills that will be valuable throughout their lives. The ability to think critically and to analyse and present evidence are skills that enrich graduates' lives, and last for life."

Notes

  1. What do graduates do? has been published annually since 1997 by Prospects in collaboration with AGCAS for the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU). Analysis is of data from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey produced by the Higher Education Statistics Agency. The What do graduates do? 2018 report gives a comprehensive picture of the destinations of 254,495 (77.3%) of last year's UK domiciled first-degree graduates in January 2018 - six months after they had left university.
  2. Universities UK published a report earlier this year on Solving future skills challenges. The report indicated that there will be unmet demand for level 4 and 5 higher level qualifications (such as HNCs, HNDs, and Foundation Degrees). The report looks also at the rapid pace of change and increasing complexity of work, and highlights the need for continual skill upgrading, lifelong learning and study of higher education qualifications at all levels. The report is available to download.

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