A recent study conducted by Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) found that computer science has the highest rate of unemployed graduates. HESA data shows that computer science graduates are more likely to be unemployed six months after graduating than other graduates overall, and six percentage points more likely than STEM graduates*
And yet, at the same time, businesses complain of a skills shortage in computer science roles. Why is this? BIS’ study found that, generally, graduates felt that their University hadn’t done enough to prepare them for work in terms of transferable skills to work across industries and the soft skills required to help them interact in the workplace.
Another issue surrounding the employability problems with computer science graduates is that the subject attracts a higher than average proportion of black and ethnic minority (BAME) students. Studies show that BAME graduates have higher unemployment rates across all subjects and a 16.7% unemployment rate for BAME computer science graduates from Russell Group institutions, compared to an average Russell Group unemployment rate of 7.2%. However, many BAME students come from areas of very high unemployment, where a figure of 16.7% would be seen as a great success.
However, the BIS’ study’s findings do suggest that the outcome is not all doom and gloom. The majority of computer science graduates experienced only short-term unemployment in the period immediately following graduation, with multiple periods of unemployment were rare and half experiencing unemployment only once. Employment outcomes significantly improve 3.5 years after graduation, although still at a lower level compared to other graduates.
Of the computer science graduates involved in the study, most had found paid jobs which used their computer science skills to some extent, with a large majority of jobs being permanent and full-time, and many graduates commenting that they would be happy to stay in their line of work for the foreseeable future.
SOURCE: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/computer-science-graduate-employability-interviews-with-graduates ‘Research exploring issues around the employability of computer science graduates’. 16 May 2016. Department for Business, Innovation & Skills
*13.0% of 2012/13 computer science graduates; 7.6% of 2012/13 graduates; 7.0% of 2012/13 STEM graduates.
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