Graduate employment and salaries up, but gender pay gap remains

Destination of Leavers from Higher Education study reveals outcomes for 2014 graduates

June 25, 2015
Graduate employment maze

The proportion of UK university leavers in work or further study has increased slightly, with graduate salaries on the rise too.

The Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education study, published today, shows that 89 per cent of graduates who completed a full-time first degree in 2014 were in work or further study six months later, compared to 88 per cent in 2013.

The unemployment rate dropped slightly over the same period, from 8 per cent to 7 per cent.

The study reveals that 68 per cent of 2014 first degree leavers who were in work in the UK were in graduate-level jobs six months after leaving, compared to 66 per cent of the previous year's cohort. The remaining 32 per cent were in jobs classed as non-professional.

The mean salary for 2014 first degree graduates was £21,500, up from £21,000 the previous year, the study says.

But male graduates reported earning more than their female counterparts, with mean salaries of £22,500 and £20,500 respectively. Male first degree leavers were also more likely to be earning more than £25,000.

The study, published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, also reveals varying outcomes for graduates from different disciplines.

The proportion of full-time first degree graduates of courses in medicine and dentistry who were unemployed was below 1 per cent, and this group also reported the highest salaries, averaging £30,000.

Only 3 per cent of veterinary science and education graduates were unemployed, compared to 11 per cent of computer science students and 9 per cent of communication studies graduates.

Employment rates were higher among graduates of doctoral and other postgraduate degrees than among those completing undergraduate degrees.

Some 92 per cent of PhD leavers were in work or further study, and only 4 per cent of them were unemployed. For other postgraduates, the figures were 91 per cent and 6 per cent respectively.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, expressed disappointed with the figures that showed that nearly a third of university leavers were in non-graduate jobs.

“For many university leavers, the prospect of finding a job that matches their talents is gloomy,” she said. “Despite paying huge amounts to get a higher education, many are being forced to take on lower-skilled jobs, which is in turn pushing those who don’t have a degree out of the labour market altogether.”

chris.havergal@tesglobal.com

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