Postgraduates 'more likely to be in employment and land professional or managerial jobs'

Signing up for a postgraduate course does not simply put a career on hold but actually boosts an individual's employment chances and future career prospects, a study suggests.

Not only are postgraduates more likely to be in employment than those with undergraduate degrees but they also have a better chance of securing professional or managerial jobs, according to the What Do Graduates Do? study by the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU).

The report was based on official data showing what first-degree graduates and postgraduates were doing in January this year some six months after they finished their studies.

While 85.5% of those with a postgraduate qualification were in employment or were working and studying, the corresponding proportion of first degree graduates was 73.7%.

The survey showed those with first degrees were more likely to be out of work six months down the line than their postgraduate counterparts, with 5% of postgraduates unemployed compared to 8.5% of those who did not continue their studies.

Around nine out of 10 (91%) postgraduates were employed in professional or managerial roles, compared to two-thirds (65%) of first degree graduates, the study found.

More than a third (34.3%) of those who stayed on after their degree were working in education, either with jobs in primary and secondary schools or in universities and colleges.

Many others found jobs in healthcare, including becoming nurses, social workers and researchers.

More than half (51.4%) of those who completed a postgraduate qualification did a Masters, the study showed, and it revealed that Masters graduates were more likely to land jobs in business, HR and finance than other postgraduates.

The research also shed light on the age and sex of postgraduate students, with more than a fifth (22%) of those taking a postgraduate course aged 40 or over and women shown to be more likely to embark on postgraduate study than men.

HECSU deputy director of research Charlie Ball said: "It shows that further study isn't just a tactic to delay getting a job, but a destination that has positive employment outcomes with many choosing to study career-related subjects."

Copyright Press Association 2013