Creative arts and design degrees most useful for securing a job from Falmouth University, figures show

Creative arts and design graduates were the most successful at getting jobs five years after leaving Falmouth University, figures show.

But the Institute of Student Employers said a combination of lockdown and recession will present graduates with a challenging labour market for years to come.

Figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency show 81 per cent of creative arts and design graduates from the Falmouth University class of 2012 were working or still studying five years later.

This was the highest of all degree subjects at the university, out of the 865 graduates recorded for that year.

In contrast, just 73 per cent of media graduates were not employed or still studying in 2017-18.

Across Britain, languages graduates had the lowest average rate of employment or further study five years after finishing their course, of 79 per cent.

Those studying Celtic studies were most likely to be employed, with 93 per cent, though just five universities were recorded as offering this subject. They were closely followed by veterinary science graduates.

The ISE said the success of some subjects and institutions can be explained by strong vocational pathways and by developing highly-valued skills such as numeracy.

But employers are willing to recruit from a wide variety of subjects, and are becoming less insistent on a 2:1 grade “as a passport to a good job”, it added.

Tristram Hooley, chief research officer at the organisation, said he was therefore sceptical of overly simplistic explanations, and that rhetoric of ‘mickey mouse degrees’ is not helpful.

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He said: “Covid-19 is clearly making a big difference to the graduate labour market. Research from the Institute of Student Employers shows that the number of vacancies is down by about 12 per cent and that many students should expect to be interviewed, inducted and begin working online.

“So far employers have continued to invest in graduates, albeit in somewhat lower numbers. But, the mix of lockdown and recession is likely to mean that graduates are going to be facing a challenging labour market for a number of years to come.”

In addition, the HESA figures show media graduates had the highest earnings five years after graduating from Falmouth University, with an average income of £21,700.

At the other end of the scale, performing arts graduates were earning just £15,700 at this time.

Despite the variations seen across Britain, the Office for Students said it is good to see higher education continuing to have significant benefit for most students in their employment prospects.

Chris Millward, director for access and participation at the OfS, said: “The labour market is likely to become more challenging in the aftermath of coronavirus, so it is more important than ever that higher education equips graduates with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in the workplace, whatever and wherever they study.

“Universities and colleges will be central to the recovery of local areas throughout the country, helping people of all ages to up-skill and re-train, and supplying businesses and public services with the creative and adaptable people they will need to succeed.”

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “We want all university students to benefit from a high quality education and go on to pursue successful careers, delivering value for money for students and taxpayers.”

She added that a Government-commissioned report last year showed 34 per cent of graduates were in non-graduate jobs and the Government was committed to its manifesto pledge to tackle low quality courses.

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