Degrees still give a leg-up into the workplace

Jan 25 2005 by Nic Paton Print This Article

The days of viewing a degree as an opportunity to spend three years in the student bar or putting off your entry into the world of work appear to be numbered.

According to the student experience study carried out by student accommodation provider Unite, most students now see their degree as an investment for their future.

More than eight out of ten students said they were optimistic about getting a job upon graduation, expecting to earn more than 19,000 in their first job and rising to 29,500 after five years.

More than a half - 57 per cent - chose to go to university because they believed it would improve their job prospects.

Almost nine out of ten agreed the money they were spending on their education is a good investment in their future.

Employability following graduation did not appear to be a worry, with 81 per cent agreeing that university sets them in good stead for their working lives.

Nearly four in ten students anticipated starting work straight away in a graduate job.

Around a quarter, 24 per cent, said they would start to look for a career job when they graduate; while about the same proportion intended to take a temporary job.

A fifth intended to go travelling following graduation.

Jonathan Benn, managing director of The WorkBank, an on-campus organisation which helps students manage their work and university life balance, said: Despite 62 per cent of all students agreeing that increasing numbers of graduates will make it harder to get a job, hopes remain high of securing employment.

"The more relaxed attitude towards initial employment destinations is a sign of their enduring confidence in their worth to the employment market.

He added: Students seem happy to embark on temporary jobs and take their time to consider their career options in more depth. Salary expectations are realistic, comparing well with average salaries for graduate positions reported by other studies.

But there were also concerns. Just a fifth of students in their third or subsequent year felt they would emerge equipped with good spelling and grammar skills.

They would instead have the essential soft skills for the world of work the ability to work under pressure, self confidence, working constructively with others, organisational ability, and initiative, they felt.