Newer universities catching Oxbridge in jobs league

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The Independent Online
FRAN ABRAMS and

LESLEY GERARD

The educational revolutionaries of 30 years ago have finally triumphed in their battle with the bastions of the Establishment. Six out of the top 10 universities in a new employment-achievement league were founded in the 1960s.

The traditional Oxbridge recruiting grounds - for centuries the purveyors of bright young graduates to the civil service and the City - are no longer the only ports of call for employers looking for the educated elite. Instead, companies are targeting newer institutions which have in the past been shunned by some top A-level students.

Graduate recruiters say that they are now much more sophisticated in their approach - looking for individual courses with good reputations rather than simply going to the ancient universities.

Figures published last week on the employment records of universities for their 1994 graduates - which excluded the former polytechnics - show that while Oxford still has the fewest graduates who are unemployed after six months with 3.5 per cent of its UK-based graduates, Cambridge only ranks fifth. Although redbrick Bristol comes third, and ancient St Andrews seventh, the rest of the top 10 are Sixties institutions - Dundee (second), Surrey, Brunel, Bath, Lancaster and Aston were all founded during the mass expansion of university education in that decade.

At the bottom of the list are Leeds, with 12.6 per cent, and Keele with 13.4 per cent.

The figures show that university leavers' chances of getting a job are improving after several years of high unemployment levels. The overall percentage still looking for jobs in December was 7.7 per cent, down from 9.5 per cent in 1993.

Some subjects almost guarantee a job - the University of Wales College of Medicine did not have a single unemployed graduate last year. Dentistry students are also very likely to find work.

However, popular areas, including the social sciences - which has seen a big increase in student numbers in recent years - did less well. One in 13 social science graduates were still seeking jobs in December.

Universities at the bottom of the league pointed out that the types of courses they ran adversley affected their records.

The figures were analysed by the University of Dundee. Its principal, Dr Ian Graham-Bryce, said he was especially proud to be at the top of the Scottish league.

PERCENTAGE OF GRADUATES STILL SEEKING WORK IN DECEMBER

TOP 10 (lowest %)

1. Oxford (Founded 1096) 3.55

2. Dundee (1967) 4.26

3. Bristol (1909) 5.37

4. Surrey (1966) 5.41

5. Cambridge (1209) 5.45

6. Brunel (1966) 5.48

7. St Andrews (1411) 5.67

8. Bath (1966) 5.88

9. Lancaster (1964) 6.07

10. Aston (1966) 6.39

BOTTOM 10 ( highest %)

1. Keele (Founded 1949) 13.49

2. Leeds (1904) 12.6

3. Salford (1967) 12.36

4. Leicester (1957) 11.52

5. Reading (1926) 11.38

6. Sussex (1961) 11.16

7. Bangor (1884) 11.14

8. Southampton (1952) 10.9

9. Aberystwyth (1872) 10.77

10. York (1962) 10.75

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