The Bad News:
Firstly, let’s get the nasty, grimy facts of graduate life out of the way:
- According to data gathered by
The Guardian, the average 2012 graduate is in debt to the tune of £16,141 - a figure which has risen 6% since last year. This debt is based purely on student loans and therefore does not take into account any other money owed (parents, credit cards, personal loans or any other debt) which may be accrued by students. If that has made you cry, hold back the tears as The Daily Mail has this figure at a thoroughly depressing, £22,127. Now cry!
The Guardian study showed the most common type of degree is a form of creative arts degree (music, fine arts, creative writing etc) which, would net the graduate, on average, £12.06 per hour in their first job, making creative arts graduates the lowest paid. The highest paid graduates, of course, are doctors and dentists raking in, on average, £21.29 per hour.
- The same research showed that the 2012 graduate has only a 12% higher chance of being employed than a non graduate. And according to
reports, when these graduates apply they will most probably need least a 2:1 to even be considered for an interview with a top firm - 76% of employers tend to screen out applications from graduates with a Desmond (2:2) or below. And due to the high volume of applications for some posts, some employers even screen out graduates with a 2:1!
- Research by
High Fliers has indicated applications to graduate positions have increased by 11% on last year - probably because last year’s graduates were unable to find positions.
- The High Fliers study also shows that, on average, 52 graduates apply for every position available. According to
The Telegraph this number is much higher in specific areas. For example, 150 graduates chase after every retail position advertised and 142 scramble for every investment banking position.
- According to a recent study by the
Local Government Association, Media students may find it especially tough in 2010 83,000 students left education trained in Media whilst there were only 65,000 appropriate jobs for these graduates.
The Good News:
It’s not all bad news, there is a silver lining:
- From the data gathered by the Guardian, we worked out that a degree is worth an extra £5k a year. The average graduate is paid substantially more than an employee without a degree. On average, graduate pay is £15.18 an hour whilst an employee without a degree gets, £8.92, based on 40 hours per week, 52 weeks a year. This amounts to £5,000 per year. Which means a degree is still well worth it.
- Research by
High Fliers shows that for a third year in a row companies are employing slightly more graduates.
- The same report indicates that graduate vacancies in the public sector are set to rise by 20% this year - despite a recruitment freeze in government departments and councils. This is partly due to teacher training organisation
Teach First taking on 1,000 graduates this year. Furthermore, applications to PGCEs are set to increase due to government changes in bursaries for PGCE students, meaning some graduates will be eligible for up to £20,000. Read the Scholarship Search Guide to PGCEs to find out more about the new bursary scheme and how to get on a PGCE.
High Fliers research shows accountancy graduates are in luck, the lowest ratio of applications per job can be found in this field. The good news is, if you have a head for figures, you don’t need an accountancy degree to get into this field. Any strong undergraduate degree would get you onto postgraduate courses specifically designed to help graduates get into accountancy. Check out this Whatuni article to find out other areas where there is low competition for jobs.
The facts are there - read them whatever way you will. If you are about to go to uni this September, have you chosen a subject with a good chance of pay or employment? Also, when you get to uni you need to ensure you get the best grade possible. And, due to the new
Higher Education Achievement Report due to start in September 2012, ensure you get involved with extra curricular activities.
If you will graduate next year, have you ensured you’ve done all you can to ensure employability? Perhaps consider volunteering or getting some work experience before you graduate. Have a word with your university employability team and they should be able to give you some advice.
If you are a graduate, unfortunately these are the conditions you’ve just graduated into. There are more graduates than there are jobs, if you failed to get a 2:1 or above you may find it harder to get a job fit for a graduate and you’ll have a shed load of debt. On the bright side, your degree will earn your a substantially higher salary than someone without a degree - adding tangible value to your struggles, academically and fiscally.
Matt M Jones