Graduate unemployment up 25 per cent: women fare better than men

July 4, 2010

Unemployment among graduates has jumped 25 per cent in a year and is worse among men than women, a report has found.

Analysis by the Higher Education Policy Institute of the most recent data available found that graduate unemployment was 14 per cent in December 2009 compared with 11.1 per cent the previous year.

However, far more male graduates were without jobs than women. A total of 17.2 per cent of men were unemployed after their degrees compared with 11.2 per cent of female graduates.

Hepi analysed the data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency and used the Office for National Statistics’ Labour Force Survey for added context.

The statistics appear in the think-tank’s latest report, Male and Female Participation and Progression in Higher Education: Further Analysis, published today.

It says graduate employment should be measured in the context of lower participation and higher drop-out rates for men in higher education, as well as increased unemployment rates for male workers.

Taken together, these factors mean that just under half (44 per cent) of graduate jobs are held by men, even though the male population is larger.

Women appear to have an advantage over men when it comes to participation in higher education and their performance at university, but female graduates suffer from lower growth in pay over time, the report says.

Although much of this is accounted for by differences in subject choices, employed male graduates still tend to earn more than their female counterparts.

The Hepi report says the issue needs proper investigation but adds that the apparent discrepancy could be due to factors such as discrimination, different life choices and the nature of jobs applied for.

Meanwhile, a separate section of the report continues Hepi’s recent work examining why, among the 18-30 age group, participation rates are higher for women than men.

The report concludes there has been “no recent improvement” in the gender balance.

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