Graduate unemployment at record level

It’s been another bad week for students, with the graduate unemployment rate having risen to a 17 year high.

According to the Higher Education Careers Service Unit, the class of 2009’s graduate unemployment level is 8.9%, the highest it has been since 1993.

Director of the University of Oxford Careers Service, Jonathon Black, said he didn’t think this was “new news. I’m surprised this information is only coming to light now, given that polls on graduate recruitment are taken in January and the information is collated in April. I’m suspicious of why it’s only coming out now.”

Black went on to say: “The fact is graduate unemployment has gone up, but not for Oxford students. It will be interesting to see if that changes this year, but employers still come here and to Cambridge and LSE, places like that, first.”

Some graduates fair better than others with Geography and Psychology graduates having a better than average chance of getting work.
IT graduates find it hardest to gain full time employment. Media Studies, Engineering and Architecture graduates also have a difficult time finding work with unemployment rates of over 10%.

Given how hard graduates are finding it to get in to employment, the government has been criticized for proposing raising tuition fees at this time.

The proposals for increase stem from Lord Browne’s Report, which drew hundreds of students on to the streets of Oxford last Thursday in protest. The protest prompted Vince Cable to cancel his plans to speak at the University.

Jack Haynes, 3rd year Earth Sciences student at University College said “It’s disappointing that the government are trying to put so many people through university and yet are also making it harder for them to repay their student debts and there may not even be jobs for them at the end of it. School teachers encourage people to go to university as if it’s the only way but it doesn’t work out for everyone. There are plenty of IT graduates who just can’t find jobs.”

Graduate student, Jennifer Thorpe, said “the job crisis for graduates leads most of us into a distressing double bind- cut our losses and enter the job market with little chance of success, or stay on at uni until the cycle hits an upward trend.”

Theodore Ward, from the recruitment agency Reed, said: “We’ve got quite a few graduates employed but not that many even come in here looking for work. It’s more students that come here seeking jobs.”

The government gave its response to the Browne Report earlier today, announcing a rise of the cap on fees to £6000 or £9,000 if they subscribe to a scholarship scheme.