Postgraduates 'get better jobs'

New research suggests that staying on in higher education improves employment prospects

Tom Mendelsohn
Thursday 05 September 2013 10:39

Students who keep studying past their first degree have much better employment prospects, a report has found.

People with postgraduate qualifications are more likely to be employed than those who leave university after their undergraduate degrees, and more likely to be employed in professional or managerial roles, according to the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU).

The 'What Do Graduates Do' report found that 86 per cent of postgraduates were employed, or working and studying, six months after receiving their qualifications, compared to 74 per cent of their undergraduate colleagues.

Just five per cent of postgraduates are unemployed, compared to nine per cent of undergraduates, while 91 per cent are in 'professional or managerial roles', compared to just 65 per cent of first-degree graduates.

Women, meanwhile, are more likely to be postgraduates than men, while more than a fifth of the total were taking a postgraduate course after the age of 40.

In general, more than a third of those who stayed on after their degree were working in education, taking on jobs in primary and secondary schools or in universities and colleges.

Many also went on to work in healthcare, including becoming nurses, social workers and researchers.

HECSU deputy director of research Charlie Ball said his research demonstrated that 'further study isn't just a tactic to delay getting a job', but something that provides 'positive employment outcomes'.

"While the figures can help those considering further study to make more informed choices, they should tread with some caution," he added.

"There are not obvious career paths for many postgraduate degrees, the landscape is more complex and career trajectories vary hugely by subject, so it's vital to seek good advice and talk to careers services before making a decision."

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