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What were 2012 graduates up to six months after leaving university?

Just over two-thirds of the students who graduated in the last academic year were employed six months later, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

The HESA findings, published last week, reveal that 67% of students who graduated from UK universities in the academic year 2011/12 were employed six months later, while 7% were working and studying, 14% had gone on to further study, 7% were unemployed and 4% were involved in other activities.

The majority of the 2011/12 graduates who were in employment – 64% – were in positions that were classified as professional employment. The remaining 36% were in work that was not defined as professional within the terms of the study. This included sales and customer service occupations, which accounted for 13% of all university leavers in employment.

Female graduates less likely to be unemployed

HESA has made it clear that these figures, drawn from its Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey (DLHE), should not be compared to DLHE findings from previous years, as the format of the research has changed. However, the findings do confirm one trend that we at have commented on before. Female graduates are less likely than male graduates to be unemployed, but they are also likely to be earning slightly less.

According to HESA, 9% of all male university leavers included in the study were unemployed, compared to 6% of all females. The mean salary for females was £19,000, compared to £21,000 for males. The mean salary for all graduates in employment (whether professional or not) was £21,000, and the median was £20,000.

Which degree subject makes you most employable?

Those who studied medicine and dentistry were least likely to be unemployed, with 0% in this situation. Those who had studied education also had very low rates of unemployment (4%). The research findings on employability by subject included some surprises; graduates who had studied computer science were more likely than those from any other degree background to be unemployed six months after graduation, with 14% out of work.

Here are some of the other findings for unemployment rates for 2012 graduates by subject:

  • Creative arts & design 11%
  • Engineering and technology 10%
  • Business and administrative studies 10%
  • Law 7%
  • Languages 9%
  • Mass communications & documentation 12%
  • Mathematical sciences 9%
  • Social studies 9%

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