Geeks will inherit the earth

August 28, 2014

The assertion in the Week in Higher Education (News, 14 August) that computer science graduates are the least employable is incorrect.

Figures released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that employment of 2013 computer science graduates was higher than the graduate average, with employment figures comparable with engineering and business graduates and well above employment levels of even mathematics or physical science graduates. However, it is true that computer science graduates also had the highest unemployment rate of 13 per cent. The difference lies in the numbers going on to further education or training. Computer science is a vocational subject so there is no advantage in going into further education just to get a job.

The situation is illustrated by the case of my nephew, who, after graduating in chemistry from a Russell Group university, was unable to get a job. He therefore took a further course to widen his skill set. Students in his position would not appear under Hesa’s “unemployed” heading, but it does not mean they are employable. My nephew completed his further course in IT, and very soon after acquired a graduate-level job based on this training. If “geeks” were so unemployable, why do graduates from other subjects turn to IT once they have graduated?

Ray Dawson
Professor of knowledge management
Loughborough University

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