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Recession Resilience: Graduates Fare Better, but Inequalities Persist

Recession Resilience: Graduates Fare Better, but Inequalities Persist

During a recession, UK graduates were resilient and adaptable, according to a new analysis by Prospects at Jisc. After COVID-19, the graduate labour market quickly recovered, with only 4.2% of 2020 graduates still unemployed 15 months later. As white graduates with first-class degrees were more likely to be employed full-time, disparities still exist.

More than the preceding cohort, working 2020 graduates had professional-level jobs at a rate of 75%. In this edition of What Do Graduates Do?, graduates ceased attending college during the COVID-19 pandemic when considerable limitations were in place and employment openings peaked in June 2020 at 39% of levels prior to the outbreak (ONS).

Despite the challenging job market they entered after graduation, according to HESA's Graduate Outcomes data, more 2020 graduates were employed or enrolled in school 15 months later than in the previous year. In contrast to the 80% of people who were employed (including 10.9% of those who were both working and studying), just 9.3% of people had started additional education on their own. This is comparable to the numbers we might anticipate for a "typical" year.

With 74% of working graduates in professional-level employment after 15 months, this graduation cohort was more likely to be employed than their peers a year earlier. Among individuals who had completed an apprenticeship to earn their degree, this percentage rose to 95%. Entry rates increased for every professional-level position.

The epidemic had severely hurt self-employment, but what should graduates do? demonstrates that about one in ten of the graduates who were employed were either self-employed or actively pursuing self-employment.

The analysis demonstrates that there are disparities in employment outcomes and that the graduate labour market is not a uniform population.

15 months after graduation, white graduates were more likely than their black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) counterparts to be employed (70%) and in professional-level occupations (74%).

First-class graduates were more likely to be employed full-time (71%) than those with a 2:1 (67%), 2:2 (67%) or Third (69%). This is true even if the Institute of Student Businesses claims that fewer employers are utilising degree outcomes as a minimum entry requirement.

This shows how employable, resilient, and adaptive UK graduates are, as well as how quickly the graduate labour market recovered from COVID-19, according to Charlie Ball, senior consultant for labour market information at Jisc for Prospects. Even in a pandemic that crippled the UK economy, the vast majority of recent graduates were able to find employment—and good employment at that. There is every reason to suppose that the majority of grads will land solid employment since we anticipate the recession to last long into next year.

"The graduate labour market was by far the least impacted sector of the labour market during the recent recession." Recessions, however, make disadvantage worse. In order to ensure that all graduates have equal opportunities regardless of their backgrounds or qualities, we need to work harder as we are already starting behind.

Free photo group of diverse grads throwing caps up in the sky