What do graduate employment statistics actually mean?
When potential undergraduate students are in the process of applying to university, the question of what is going to happen once they graduate never seems to occur to them, even though, when you are choosing your course and university it is a great idea to think about the future, because that is why you’re doing it, right?
Graduate statistics, especially in regards to employment figures are extremely helpful during the application process as they can give you an indication on what it’ll be like after you have your degree, in the ‘real’ world of work and looking for a job – and leads many students to ask, will university help my career? Continue reading to find out what graduate employment statistics actually mean, and how they can affect your decision about university.
The survey, the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) is carried out and released annually across institutions, to give the most accurate report of what graduates are doing after university, if they have found employment, how long it took to be hired, and their salary. The disadvantage to the survey is that it is only issued six months after the graduates have left, which means it doesn’t fully replicate each subject area. For example, a media related degree and job may take months of experience before actually landing a job, whereas degrees in other subjects can have a high employment rate, but work placements during university could be responsible for this statistic.
Although it is six months after graduation, it doesn’t give you an idea on how long it will take you to find a job after university, as everyone is different, and when it comes to you graduating three years later, the job market can change entirely. Even if your subject area has a high unemployment rate, it only tells you the sixth-month mark, meaning you will eventually get a job, but there isn’t an average time limit.
The unemployment aspect of the statistic doesn’t actually mean ‘you haven’t got a job’. Some graduates choose to study further, go travelling, take a gap year, volunteer or may have other responsibilities, like looking after children, when the survey is carried out. If your course has a high unemployment rate, that won’t necessarily mean you will be sitting around bored for six months once you have graduated!
Another thing to remember is that the UK’s economy still isn’t as strong as it was a few years ago’ it’s still having a tough time. When you’re choosing your university or course, you should take into consideration that some career sectors are taking the recession harder than others – but that doesn’t mean it won’t pick up again, or that you can’t get a job in the field you want to. Also, you won’t be graduating for at least three years, and statistics can change significantly in that time. Your location can change the outcome too, employment sectors and figures are different all around the country, if you studied in the North of England, the South of England will have a completely different employment report – it also gives you an opportunity to go travelling!
When it comes to ‘working’ in the DLHE survey, it generally means a graduate job, and a graduate job indicates possibilities of promotion, well paid or even interesting – but this is never guaranteed. The term, ‘graduate job’ is forever changing, and you may find yourself starting at the bottom of the ladder when you finally apply for one after you graduate!
Lastly, just because your subject area has a steady employment rate, it won’t promise a decent wage. You’re going to be a recent graduate, fresh out of university, without a spec of experience, and your competition will be piling up against you. However, you will find a job, and employers do look for exciting and innovative ideas, although, don’t expect a big paycheck as soon as you receive your diploma!