Far from walking into a graduate job, 44.1% of university leavers from the class of 2012/13 are predicted to be unemployed or underemployed six-months after leaving full time education, according to the most recent report commissioned by AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians).
The report compiled by the Cebr examines university and vocational education and the routes they offer into the labour market.
The report forecasts that 36.4% of those graduating in 2012/13 who are economically active will be working in roles for which a degree is not necessary six months after leaving university. However, they will arguably be the lucky ones with 12.1% of the class of 2012/13 predicted to still be unemployed six months following graduation. This is compared to the UK national average of 7.8%.
Conversely, the report reveals those with vocational qualifications managed to escape the worst effects of the financial crisis. While the unemployment rate for those with qualifications at Level 1 or below soared to 14.5% by 2011, up from 8.5% in 2006; those with a vocational qualification at Level 3 or Level 4 have much lower unemployment rates of 6.9% and 4.5% respectively.
Those studying STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics stand to fare better than those studying arts subjects – both in terms of employability and earning potential. Roughly half of all arts students are either out of work or in a role for which they are overqualified for six months after leaving full education – compared to just 35% of STEM graduates.
The report also found vocational qualifications have a positive impact on earning potential – in some cases comparable to that of a university graduate. For those completing a Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship, earning potential is likely to be significant, reaching above £150,000 on average.
This compares similarly to an estimated lifetime earnings advantage that a representative graduate would enjoy compared to a non-graduate. However, in the case of an apprentice, it is likely to come at little financial cost to the individual.