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Graduate unemployment falls

Recent figures have shown that graduate unemployment for British graduates is at its lowest level in nearly 40 years.

In what is a rare piece of positive news about universities in recent months, the figures revealed that graduates were also earning more than last year – with average starting salaries increasing from £21,776 to £22,399.  Every part of the UK saw an increase too, with the Midlands, East of England and Northern Ireland seeing the largest percentage increases.

The figures were released by Prospects, which offers careers advice to students and uni leavers, in its annual report ‘What do graduates do?’.

The report said that unemployment rate for graduates had fallen to 5.1 percent this year – the lowest since the 1979 survey when it was 4.9 percent. The figures were based on what more than a quarter of a million (254,495) British graduates were doing at the start of 2018 – six months after they had left uni. The total number surveyed represents more than three quarters of all British graduates.

Charlie Ball, Head of Higher Education Intelligence at Prospects, said:

Skills shortages have been a feature of the graduate labour market since the recovery from the last recession. There are signs that this may have helped to fuel a modest rise in salaries as well as job prospects.

Universities UK (UUK), which represents university leaders, said the Prospects data provides more evidence of the high demand for graduates.

Alistair Jarvis, CEO of UUK, said:

The Prospects data shows that employer demand for graduates is growing.

Going to university is also a good investment for students… [and] provides graduates with skills that will be valuable throughout their lives.

What do graduates do? has been published annually since 1997, and is based on figures from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, also published on an annual basis.

Image from Sakeeb Sabakka