‘White male graduates more likely to get professional jobs’

Graduate, University


Employment rates in professional jobs for women and for those from black and ethnic minority groups are lower than for male, white graduates, according to new research from the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

HEFCE analysed the employment outcomes at six months and 40 months of two cohorts of graduates: those who graduated in 2009 and 2011. For both cohorts 90 per cent of graduates were employed or in further study six months after graduation, though the share of those employed in professional roles was slightly higher for the 2011 cohort.

Forty months after graduation, the total proportion of graduates employed or in further study was over 95 per cent, and for both cohorts 69 per cent were in professional roles.

The statistics show male graduates had higher professional employments rates than female graduates. Of those graduating in 2011, 79 per cent of men were in professional employment or further study after 40 months, compared to 74 per cent of women. This is despite women making up the majority of graduates and attaining better degree results than men.

The research also shows employment rates for most black and minority ethnic groups are worse than those of white graduates. Even accounting for degree attainment and other factors, such as subjects studied, the professional employment rates after 40 months of those graduating in 2011 are between 7 and 9 percentage points lower for Black African, Black Caribbean, Bangladeshi and Pakistani graduates than for white graduates. The exception is Chinese graduates, whose professional employment rates improved between the 2011 and 2009 cohorts, and in 2011 were equivalent to those of white graduates.

Graduates from disadvantaged areas also have lower rates of professional employment. Although the rates of professional employment improve for graduates from all areas between six and 40 months after graduation, the gap between the most and least disadvantaged remained.

HEFCE Director of Policy, Christopher Millward, said: “With employment rates of 97 percent 40 months after graduation and with 70 percent in professional employment, higher education continues to offer a significant majority of students an excellent route into the labour market. However, the report supports previous HEFCE analysis in demonstrating that there continue to be serious challenges to achieving equality of outcomes for graduates from ethnic minority groups, graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds and women, particularly in terms of securing professional employment.

“Higher education can be a powerful force for social mobility, but this requires not just access to and success within university.  It also requires successful transition into rewarding careers. This report demonstrates the imperative for higher education providers to work with employers to address this.”

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