Graduate Employment Statistics: 20 Facts You Should Know

These graduate employment statistics show that with the proper education, landing a job is easy. Even with the adverse effects of the pandemic, the most famous colleges in the UK still have high employability rates.

Law, IT, and medicine prove to be the best careers to go for, with high salaries, great job opportunities, and chances to grow professionally. Keep on reading to find out which degree brings the most benefits in today’s job market.

Graduate Labour Market Trends (Editor’s Choice)

  • Graduates aged 25 to 64 accounted for 15% of the overall unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The average unemployment rate for recent graduates has peaked at 16% during 2020.
  • The average UK graduate salary is £24,000.
  • Law firm jobs have the highest starting salary, with a median of £38,250.
  • Over 91% of Oxford graduates are employed.
  • The University of Edinburgh is rated top 10 in the UK and top 100 globally for graduate employability.
  • From July 2021, international students who complete an undergraduate or master’s degree can stay for two years to work or look for work in the UK.
  • Top graduate schemes can pay up to £50,000.

UK Graduate Labour Market

During 2020, many industries suffered losses. Those with a graduate degree aged 25 to 64 accounted for 15% of total unemployment, and the recent graduates reached the peak of 16% of unemployment.

1. Approximately 42% of adults in the UK have a graduate degree.

(ONS)

According to post-graduate employment statistics, of the 34 million adults aged 21 to 64 in the UK, only 42% hold a graduate degree. This totals to 14 million adults who have a graduate degree in the UK. However, the good news is that the number of UK graduates has been consistently increasing.

2. 59% of UK graduates are employed full-time.

(HESA)

According to the latest graduate employment trends, 59% of UK graduates are in full-time employment. Only 10% are in part-time positions, with 1% having an unknown pattern of hiring.

3. Graduates aged 25 to 64 accounted for 15% of the overall unemployment rate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

(ONS)

During Q3 of 2020, people aged 25 to 64 that had no degree accounted for 37% of the unemployment rate. For comparison, those in the same age group with a degree accounted for 15% of the total unemployment rate. These graduate employment statistics from the UK show that graduates are less likely to go through unemployment.

4. Average unemployment for recent graduates has peaked at 12% during 2020.

(ONS)

Average unemployment for recent graduates was the highest during 2020. It reached a peak of 12% in Q3. These statistics for unemployed recent graduates in the UK show that recent graduates were hit the hardest during 2020.

5. 70% of employed graduates are managers and directors, associates and technical workers, and professionals.

(ONS)

According to graduate employment market statistics, there was significant job growth in these occupations during the COVID-19 pandemic, and companies were able to hire more graduates. This is possibly because these positions were able to easily adapt to the remote work setup.

6. The average graduate salary in the UK is £24,000.

(Save the Student)

Selecting a career is a tough choice. People usually follow their heart, but they should also consider the average salary once they land their first job. The average graduate salary varies by subject. At the moment, it’s about £24,000. However, some industries pay way less. For example, the creative Arts industry has a starting salary of only £18,000.

The Most and Least Employable Degrees in the UK

Market trends dictate the needs in labour. As always, some degrees are more valuable than others. Law and medicine graduates will always find job opportunities, while digital and IT jobs in London are catching up.

7. Workers in law firms have the highest starting salary, with a median of £38,250.

(TARGETjobs)

According to graduate employment statistics, the highest starting salary is with law firms, with a median of £38,250. At the same time, this is one of the occupations with the highest starting salary. That doesn’t include bonuses and other benefits.

8. IT and digital jobs have the second-highest starting salary, with a median of £31,500.

(TARGETjobs)

Next to law firm jobs, those working in the IT and digital industry have the highest starting salary, with a median of £31,500. UK graduate employment statistics show that IT and digital careers are just ahead of those who work in finance and professional services. In general, IT and software companies are also on the rise, which can lead to better job opportunities.

9. Medicine and dentistry graduates are the most likely to be in full-time employment or continuing education.

(Study International)

Degrees with the highest employment in the UK are related to healthcare. Medicine and dentistry jobs are always wanted and on the list of the highest-paying occupations. In fact, 97.5% of medicine graduates become employed or continue their education within the first year of leaving university. The second most employable degree goes to nursing, with 95.2% of graduates entering the workspace within a year.

10. Only 79.8% of those in languages and classics are likely to find full-time work.

(Study International)

Even though this number seems high, those with a degree in languages, linguistics, and classics have the least employable degrees in the UK. Only 79.8% of graduates managed to land a job in the first year after graduating with these degrees.

11. Those in construction and civil engineering earn anywhere from £24,000 to £28,000.

(TARGETjobs)

Engineering graduate employment statistics show that graduates who earn a degree in civil engineering or construction can make anywhere from £24,000 to £28,000. Those employers who offer individual jobs are likely to pay engineers more.

Graduate Employment Statistics 20 Facts You Should Know

Graduate Employment Statistics by University

Oxford, Cambridge, and University College London have some of the highest employment rates in the UK. However, these universities are not alone. The University of Edinburgh and Manchester Uni are also at the top 100 universities based on the students’ employment.

12. Over 91% of Oxford graduates are employed.

(University of Oxford)

Oxford is a unique historical institution. According to today’s college graduate employment statistics, more than 91% of its graduates are employed or in continued study six months after graduating. Oxford also has the lowest dropout rates in the UK, with only 1.3% of students leaving.

13. Cambridge has 89% of graduate students working or continuing their education.

(University of Cambridge)

Cambridge’s university employment rates show that 89% of graduates are employed or in further study 15 months after graduating. The top occupations of recent graduates include medicine, programming, management, finance, and marketing.

14. 67.2% of UCL graduates are working.

(Tableau Public, UCL)

According to University College London’s graduate employment statistics among 29,806 students, 93.3% are in professional work or study. The mean salary is £29,722, and graduates have found employment in 171 countries.

15. The University of Edinburgh is rated top 10 in the UK and top 100 globally for graduate employability.

(University of Edinburgh)

96.5% of students are in employment or a continued study six months after graduating. The University of Edinburgh has 90/100 employability rankings in the UK. It provides the right skills and experiences to land a successful career. This university also offers excellent extra-curricular experiences for its students.

16. The University of Manchester is ranked 53rd in the Global University Employability Ranking in 2020.

(University of Manchester)

When it comes to the graduate employment statistics by university in the UK, the University of Manchester ranked 53rd in the Times Higher Education Global University Employability Ranking in 2020. It also ranked 35th in the QS Graduate Employability rankings in 2019. In the UK, it’s the most targeted university by graduate employers.

Graduate Employment Statistics in 2020 and 2021

International students in the UK who earn an undergraduate or graduate degree can stay for two years to work or look for work in the country. Regardless, landing a job in 2020 was hard. However, applying to graduate schemes can help you secure some of the best job positions and lessen graduate unemployment in the UK.

17. From July 2021, international students who graduated from an undergraduate or master’s degree in the UK can stay for two years to work or look for work.

(Study UK)

There are many international students in the UK, and the government is working on helping them. From July 1, 2021, those students who earned undergraduate or master’s degrees will have the chance to experience two years of working in the UK. Those who gain a Ph.D. will be able to work for three.

18. 27% of employers were cutting graduate jobs.

(TARGETjobs)

Graduate employment statistics for the UK in 2020 show that 27% of employers cut graduate jobs due to the pandemic. The COVID-19 health measures and lockdowns also reduced the number of opportunities to land a job while applying for better positions.

19. 70% of ISE employers were still hiring in 2020.

(TARGETjobs)

Regardless, about 70% of Institute of Students Employers are still hiring. These roles are more competitive than ever. Another thing to consider, according to the graduate unemployment rate in the UK during 2020, is that there might be some entry-level positions to apply to that could still benefit the graduates.

20. Top graduate schemes can pay up to £50,000.

(Prospects)

Many employers are running training programmes to develop essential people in their organisations. They are called graduate schemes and can pay at least £36,800 up to £50,000 depending on the position.

Graduate Employment Statistics 20 Facts You Should Know

Final Thoughts on Graduate Employment Statistics

UK graduates had a hard time applying to jobs during 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected the workforce industry. Still, those who studied at Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester, and other solid universities have high chances of being employed.

Law, medicine, finance, and IT are some of the most wanted degrees, while language, arts, and classics have low chances for employment. That is why it’s essential to observe the job market before deciding on what field you want to study.

FAQ

The employment rate of new graduates depends on their degree and which university they studied in. Overall, 42% of adults have a graduate degree, and out of this percentage, 59% are in full-time employment.

Additionally, 10% are in part-time positions, 1% have an unknown pattern of employment, and 1% are volunteers. Unfortunately, the average unemployment rate for recent graduates has peaked at 12% during 2020.

Employers require a skillful workforce. This is backed by the latest data showing that graduates are more likely to get a job than non-graduates. They’re also more likely to earn more compared to those without a graduate degree.

The graduate job market is expected to increase over the next few years, so investing in a degree would be a good choice. Graduates of a higher education institution also have the opportunity to apply for a graduate scheme that can provide both salary and necessary training.

Graduates aged 25 to 64 accounted for 15% of the overall unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, the average unemployment rate among recent graduates has peaked at 12%. That serves to show that recent graduates were hit the hardest during the pandemic.

Still, statistics show that about 70% of organisations in the Institute of Student Employers are still hiring. Unfortunately, the job market is more competitive than ever, and graduates might want to consider sending various job applications.

According to recent data, 97.5% of those who graduated medicine or dentistry are highly likely to be employed. That’s because medicine and dentistry are always in demand. At the same time, graduates of these fields have some of the highest salaries.

As a result, 97.5% of graduates of medicine are employed or continuing their education within the first year of leaving university. The second most employable degree is nursing, with 95.2% of graduates entering the workspace.

Even though some areas are fun to consider for studies, they might not guarantee employment. 79.8% of graduates in languages and classics are likely to find full-time work. These degrees are among the least employable degrees in the UK.

Other less employable degrees include philosophy and religious studies, politics, communications and media, humanities, and liberal arts. Some of these, like arts and media studies, are also among the least-paying professions.

One would think that languages is in demand, but it’s not the case. According to the latest data, language students are the least employable in the UK. Only 79.8% of those in languages and classics studies are likely to find full-time work after graduating.

Luckily, there are ways for these graduates to boost their chances and eventually become employed. Language graduates can start with freelance positions or consider careers in marketing, such as copywriting.

IT and software development jobs are on the rise. The last available data shows that 66% of computer science graduates in the UK are employed in full-time positions. On the other hand, 8% are in part-time positions, and 8% are continuing their education.

On the other hand, graduate employment statistics show that 1% of these graduates are unemployed and due to start work, and 5% are unemployed.