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16 October 2014
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What next after HE?

A recent survey found that graduates identified the following as the most important things affecting their employment prospects:

Degree subject

Vocational, sandwich and numerate degrees offered the greatest job prospects e.g. Medicine-related courses, Engineering and Technology, Business Studies, Computing and Maths.

Fewer Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences and Interdisciplinary degree graduates had entered ‘graduate’ jobs.

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There were about 400 graduates trying for 3 places, so it was pretty intense. read more>>

Tom Beard

Transferable Skills

These skills were regarded as essential by many employers. The skills which young graduate employees said they needed the most were spoken communication, interpersonal skills and the ability to prioritise work and manage time.

University Careers Services will offer assistance in helpin gyou identify existing skills and suggest ways that you can develop others. Generally, practise public speaking and look for ways that allow you to demonstrate the wide variety of skills you already possess or are working to get. For example, a field trip or even a holiday linked to your course can be used to demonstrate your organisational skills.

Work experience

Work experience, and the skills that flow from it, was a crucial factor in successful job hunting, whether the experience came from course placements, part-time and vacation jobs or voluntary work.

Type of university

More students from traditional universities entered graduate jobs than those from newer universities, but vocational and numerate graduates did well regardless of university.

Students who studied a sandwich degree had an advantage when it came to getting a 'graduate' job. However, in some careers the 'old school tie' network does still exist.

Many recent league tables structure their ratings to take account of graduate employment. Each university Careers Service is required to publish graduate job rates every year and this information is available to the public.

Degree classification

Although those with firsts and 2.1s did do particularly well in the job stakes, those with 2.2s and below did okay. In many cases employers were more interested in work experience and skills than in degree results.


More male graduates had ‘professional’ jobs, more women were in clerical/secretarial jobs. Male graduates were earning higher salaries.

Mature students

Younger graduates found it easier to get jobs than older (over 30) graduates.


HND students had a tougher time than degree holders, but about 3/5 of HND students went on to take a degree rather than go straight into a job.


All other things being equal, enterprise, initiative, determination and good career planning went a long way towards ensuring job-hunting success.


Before choosing your HE course have a look at the AGCAS site which has loads of information about graduate employment, including likely job prospects by degree subject and which degrees are most useful for different jobs.

Cymraeg (Welsh)


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