The study of more than 1,000 part-time students, titled Futuretrack: Impact of Part-time Learning Two Years After Graduation, says 81 per cent of respondents were employed before, during and after their course, of whom 78 per cent worked full-time.
Of those students working in their final year of study, only 20 per cent changed employer two years after graduation, according to the research by Birkbeck, University of London and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
Around half of those still employed by the same employer two years after graduation reported that the course had enabled them to do more interesting work, get more job satisfaction and improved pay and promotion prospects.
“Employers who support staff through their studies are set to gain the most, with a higher chance of retaining talented employees, who are better engaged and equipped to do their job,” said Jane Artess, director of research at the Higher Education Careers Service Unit (HECSU), which commissioned the report.
“Part-time study clearly benefits both the employer and employee, as well as wider society.
“Students quickly enjoyed the advantages that they had gained from their course after graduating, using what they had learnt very effectively – and to their advantage - in the workplace.”
Employers further benefited from having staff who felt better qualified and able to do their job, had a deeper understanding of their work and were more confident, the study says.
Roughly eight out of ten graduates felt their course had a direct impact or was helpful in each of these measures.
Overall, graduates reported other benefits from part-time study; they cited that it had helped them develop as a person (88 per cent), improve self confidence (78 per cent) and increase their overall happiness (55 per cent).
The report’s co-author Claire Callender, professor of higher education policy at Birkbeck, said: “Our research clearly shows the value of part-time study – how it improves skills, leads to higher salaries, and boosts social mobility.
“As a result of their studies, 83 per cent of students surveyed felt better qualified to do their jobs and 63 per cent had taken on more responsibilities at work. One third of all UK undergraduates study part-time, so this is not a marginal issue.”