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Unemployment highest among IT graduates

Degrees in art and design, media studies and history all lead to better job prospects, according to a recent survey
Written by Andy McCue, Contributor

IT graduates have the highest unemployment rate across all degree subjects at almost double the average for students leaving UK university courses, according to new figures from the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (Hecsu).

The annual Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey of over 200,000 graduates shows that, while the unemployment rate of IT students fell again this year to 10.3 percent, it is still substantially higher than the average of 6.2 percent across all subjects.

IT graduates have higher unemployment rates than students in performing arts (6.6 percent), media studies (8.6 percent), history (6.8 percent) and art and design (10.2 percent).

Two-thirds of IT graduates entered employment immediately after finishing their course and within six months after graduation this figure rose to 71.5 percent.

Almost half (42.4 percent) of the 12,565 IT graduates who responded to the survey went into the IT profession. This is the third year in succession that figure has risen and Hecsu claims it provides evidence of recovery and expansion in the IT sector.

The other main employment destinations for IT graduates were as private and public sector general managers (9.6 percent) and the business and financial profession (6.3 percent).

The average first job salary for any graduate going into the IT profession is now £20,886, which is above the average graduate salary of £17,690 but still some way behind those entering clinical medicine, who can expect to earn £31,054 in their first job.

More worrying for the IT industry is the decline in the number of students wanting to study IT. The level of students applying for computer science degrees has halved in the last five years, leaving a shortfall in new entrants needed each year, according to Hecsu.

The Hecsu survey is based on responses from 206,965 out of the 256,460 students who graduated in the summer of 2005.

silicon.com's Will Sturgeon contributed to this article

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