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Almost half of UK graduates fail to get grad-level jobs after uni

NewsHigher Education
By Heather McLean | 5 April 2017
Size0.00 KB
Create DateApril 5, 2017
Last UpdatedApril 3, 2017

Over five million university students regret the time and money spent on their degree. Research among 2,000 UK adults commissioned by Intern Tech has revealed that the country’s university system is failing both students and businesses.

The study found that 41% of degree holders have had to take an entry-level job below graduate level once they left university, rising to 51% among 18-34 year olds. This has led to 26% of university graduates in the UK regret the time and money they spent on their university education, equating to 5.6 million people across the country.

The average graduate today leaves university with £44,000 of debt [The Sutton Trust, Degrees of Debt 2016], yet based on a nationally representative survey of 2,000 UK adults, Intern Tech’s study found that nearly half of UK grads do not know how to secure some of the country’s most sought after jobs within the tech and marketing industries. When presented with a list of the country’s most sought after roles in the tech industry – including data scientist, social media manager, app developer and cyber security specialist - 48% of graduates said they do not know what these jobs entail or how they would secure one.

The concerning findings comes as 93% of firms in the UK’s rapidly-growing tech sector say that a shortage of skilled workers is holding their business back. Over six million graduates (28%) deem their degree courses outdated in relation to the present-day job market. A massive 45% – 9.7 million graduates – say internships and work placements have been more valuable to them than degrees in their professional life

Also, over a third (35%) of university graduates have had to pay to do further qualifications to get the skills they need to pursue their desired job.

Aaron Wilson, MD at Intern Tech, commented on the findings: “The research has illustrated that universities are failing to equip graduates with the skills and experience they need in the professional world. Consequently, a huge number of degree holders in the UK are left regretting the debt they have been burdened with from university as they are still forced to take jobs below graduate-level or have to complete further qualifications to get ahead. Meanwhile, the country’s innovative high growth companies are being held back by an inability to find the skilled workers they need; clearly something must be done.

“In the Spring Budget the Government signalled its intent to address the skills gap through T-level qualifications and additional funding for STEM subjects. However, today’s survey underpins the immense value of internships, which must be encouraged; they provide young people with vital insight and experience into the jobs and industries they wish to work in," continued Wilson. "With university education criticised for being outdated, it is essential that students and graduates are encouraged to get hands-on work experience, in turn enabling companies to find potential employees with the culture, attitude and core skills they require.”


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