Students graduating from Cardiff Metropolitan University outperformed Oxford and Cambridge graduates when it came to securing jobs or places on postgraduate courses last year, statistics show.
Data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa) suggests a graduate’s chances of securing a job depend heavily on where they choose to study.
The surprising statistics show that students at some lower-ranking institutions are often more successful at securing jobs than those studying at the UK’s top universities.
In total, 95% of Cardiff Met, 96.2% of Glasgow Caledonian graduates and 96.1% of Derby graduates were working or studying further six months after finishing their degree.
This compares with 94.9% of last year’s Cambridge graduates and 92% of those who were at Oxford, according to data.
Cardiff Met doesn’t rank on the Guardian league table of universities for 2014, while Glasgow Caledonian comes in at 96 and Derby at 79. Cambridge is ranked at one and Oxford two in the UK league.
University of Bolton has the third lowest rate going into employment and further study – with Teesside University, University College Birmingham, Swansea Metropolitan University, and the University of Salford all in the bottom 20.
Elsewhere in Wales, Cardiff University saw 93.7% of graduates going into employment and further study and Swansea University 93%.
However, some institutions have warned that the figures do not paint a full picture as they include those graduates working in part-time and non-graduate-level jobs. A breakdown showing the proportion of leavers working in graduate-level positions by institution is not yet available.
While more than a fifth of students at some institutions were not in work or studying six months after graduating last summer, almost all students at some other universities – particularly small specialist colleges – found employment or were continuing their education.
Steven Stokes, Senior Communications Officer at Swansea Metropolitan – which came bottom among Welsh universities – said employability and entrepreneurship are at the heart of our undergraduate and postgraduate provision.
“Swansea Met also has an international reputation for its promotion of entrepreneurship. Official statistics by the Higher Education Business and Community Interaction Survey, released over the past three years, have shown that Swansea Met produces significantly more successful graduate start-up businesses than most Welsh HEIs. Such is the success of the institution’s entrepreneurship activities that it was used as a best-practice case study in the recent Wilson Review, initiated by the Westminster Government to improve collaboration between universities and business.”
The figures come days after research revealed that around 46 graduates are applying for every job this year. It suggested that job prospects have improved for those leaving university this summer, with a rise in the number of graduate positions available.
The study, which asks graduates what they are doing six months after graduation, also recorded a 2.29% improvement in employment for Cardiff Met graduates with 55% of Cardiff Met graduates in work in professional or managerial occupations.
Alyson Twyman, Career Development Services Manager at Cardiff Metropolitan University, said: “We have had a long-term strategy of working with the University’s Schools to embed employability and careers education in high-quality personal and professional development modules.
“Achieving this great result has been a partnership across the University, with everyone playing their part. Our aim isn’t just to get our graduates into work or study but to improve the quality and suitability of the jobs they enter by raising student aspirations and furthering our links with industry and the professions.
“Despite these fantastic results, there is no room for complacency because the jobs market is so competitive.”
A higher education insider said: “Graduate employability is an important benchmark for universities. However, it is very difficult to present definitive statistics. The HESA stats are gathered directly from the institutions. These institutions have to contact each graduate in order to find out their employment status, therefore the overall data is influenced by the number of responses obtained. Rarely, if at all, are institutions able to achieve a 100% response rate which means that the figures are not necessarily a true reflection of the overall employability. Furthermore, the statistics do not specify whether those who are employed have attained graduate-level jobs.”
Institution/Percentage of students in employment or further study
Cardiff Metropolitan University 95.0
Cardiff University 93.7
Swansea University 93.0
University of Glamorgan 92.2
University of Wales Trinity Saint David 91.5
The University of Wales, Newport 89.5
Bangor University 88.5
Aberystwyth University 88.4
Glyndwr University 87.8
Swansea Metropolitan University 86.7