What causes graduates to reject their degrees when looking for a career?

Students need more career guidance pre-degree as experts suggest that the UK, rather than lacking graduates studying the right degrees, suffers from an inability to draw them into the relevant sectors.

Last year 1 in 7 graduates from science, engineering and technology backgrounds went into retail

  • 11% went into property development
  • 8% into teaching
  • But only 6% into manufacturing jobs

Sources suggest that the reason behind these figures stem from insufficient career guidance and the perception that the engineering industry lacks a career path.

Members of The Student Room also discussed their confusion over the ‘right’ choice of degree for their career plans.

What should a student consider to make an informed decision on their degree and subsequent career?

  • An interesting comment, on the topic of a degree in Media studies, puts forward the idea that the ‘obvious’ choice for a vocation is not always the best choice in some cases; ‘employers don’t value the skills it teaches. Subjects like English and Journalism are what the field of Media values’ – Student on The Student Room
  • Suitably qualified graduates may apply to jobs in relevant sectors but oversubscribed schemes means rejection and, as a result, them considering other areas. This may be a contributing factor to the 70% of companies, sourced by EEF, that struggle to hire engineers.
  • Smaller companies in particular say they find it more difficult to attract interest; perception of a lower salary is suggested to be a contributor to this problem.
  • “Many graduate jobs simply specify a 2:1 or higher in any discipline” Although this may be the case in many sectors, such as teaching, for more scientific positions the base of technical knowledge gained through a related degree is essential for entry rather than the ability to achieve at a higher education level alone.

The results of a TSR survey showed that over half of the participants involved had to seek guidance on careers rather than it being offered to them.

Engineering graduates are, arguably, spoilt for choice whether they choose to pursue a relevant vocation or employment in other areas but figures show that a fair proportion chose to transfer their skills to other unrelated sectors.

More guidance pre degree may help by informing students of the realities and career prospects of their course and result in more graduates going into the sector. Subjects such as Physics and Maths should be explained to students as pathways into certain vocations rather than their academic parameters alone.

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