STEM grads more likely to be out of work says CIPD report
17 Nov 2017
Young people who study STEM subjects have the highest rate of graduate unemployment immediately after leaving tertiary education, says the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
Its report, The graduate employment gap: expectations versus reality, calls into question several common assumptions about the younger workforce in the UK.
Findings based on the most recent Higher Education Statistics Agency annual destinations of leavers survey revealed that engineering and the mathematical, physical and computer sciences comprise four of the five subject areas with the highest rate of unemployment six months after graduation.
It also highlights that among OECD countries, the UK has:
The fifth highest proportion (36%) of residents with degrees, ahead of the USA and every major European country
A higher share of natural science, maths and stats graduates than Germany, France or the USA
But a much lower share of engineering, manufacturing and construction graduates than Germany, Spain and France
And a far lower rate of productivity ($51) than either France or Germany (both $66)
The report authors cautioned: “Although those studying STEM-related subjects are more likely ?to end up unemployed in the? first six months, those who are working get paid more than other graduates and are more likely to be in a ‘graduate job’.
Too many higher education institutions are charging the top rate but are delivering poor outcomes for students
Nevertheless, the low representation for UK manufacturing and engineering among the graduate workforce will cause further concern about the country’s ability to replenish its ageing workforce post-Brexit.
The proportion of British engineering and manufacturing graduates stands at 9% – way below the OECD average of 14%, although those in the USA score even lower at 7%.
By contrast, the percentages for France are 15%, for Spain 16% and for Germany, 22%.
The CIPD said that the findings suggested government needed to look more critically at the value of university education and its ability to secure job outcomes.
Among the recommendations in the CIPD report was a suggestion that the Government should consider linking tuition fees to graduate destinations data.
“Far too many higher education institutions are charging the top rate but are delivering poor outcomes for students,” stated the authors.