York scores 88 per cent in employment rate statistics

The University of York has scored 88.3 per cent in employment rate statistics released yesterday by the Higher Education Statistics Authority (HESA).

HESA has published employment rates by each university and subject across the country.

Out of a figure of 1350 students surveyed at York, 1190 are employed or studying. This is despite the University’s benchmark being 2.5 per cent higher, at 90.8 per cent employed.

This compares to universities such as Cambridge, which has an employability rate of 95.2 per cent, despite its benchmark only being at 91.8 per cent. Cambridge has a higher employment rate than Oxford, which scored 92.6 per cent, 1 per cent more than its benchmark.

York St John University has also scored higher than the University of York, with a 90.7 per cent employment rate.

The results are only based on the population of students who actually wanted to answer the survey, and were able to give clear enough answers. HESA has offered supplementary information on the definitions, to clarify exactly who was surveyed and what exactly the different table definitions mean.

HESA has also provided information on the employability of different subjects, showing that medical, veterinary science and dentistry students have a significant advantage with a 99.3 employability rate. Computer Science students have the lowest employment rate, at just 81.8 per cent.

One Computer Science second-year at York told Nouse that the results were “extremely disappointing” and were “not reflective of the amount of time and work a Computer Science degree requires.” He continued: “So many of my friends do arts and humanities degrees and don’t spend a third of the time I do on my degree, yet their employability rate is much higher. It’s really worrying.”

Historical and Philosophical studies have an employment rate of 89.3 per cent, whilst Creative Arts and Design courses have an employment rate of 86.8 per cent.

The statistics were released on the same day that Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, outlined new plans to introduce a graduate tax system.

Mr Cable confirmed yesterday that he had asked Lord Browne of Madingley to look in detail at a “graduate contribution” to the review of student finance, which is due in October.

Revenue from a graduate contribution would not be paid to the Treasury but to a ring-fenced fund to protect money for universities. Under the new proposal, universities in financial crisis would also be allowed to go bust or be taken over.

New figures have also presented worrying statistics to universities across Britain. Figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) show that there are 170,000 more candidates than spaces at universities this year, meaning that as many as 70,000 able applicants will miss out on places. Mary Curnock Cook, UCAS’s Chief Executive, said: “I can’t wave a magic wand… they will have to reappraise their aspirations.”


  1. Please may we have the link to the data this article is sourced from?

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  2. I think these results are a bit meaningless. York St. John graduates can work for McDonald’s and this will still boost their university’s employability ratings.

    Also, I’d advise the “second year Computer Science student” not to worry too much. By mere virtue of your technical, numerical and analytical skills, you are far more likely to get a job with serious career prospects than most other future graduates.

    To put this into perspective, I know some humanities graduates from York who graduated last year and have now taken low-level secretarial and waitressing jobs just to pay the bills. This still counts as being employed, of course, and so it increases this meaningless ’employability’ index. But this is hardly on the same level with CS graduates that I know who have offers from IBM, BNP Paribas, Procter & Gamble, RBS, JP Morgan, Accenture, the Government Communication Center and E.ON.

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  3. It really depends on what you are after though – York CS is very well regarded, but it will only open doors for careers in the IT departments of most firms.

    However, York is also very well regarded by other academic institutions. Many York graduates go on for further study in Oxbridge or Ivy League schools. If one can find financial support or can afford a masters, I would definitely recommend they apply.


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  4. The Guardian? I didn’t think you read that too often, Laura…

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  5. Thanks for the link Laura.

    I’m with George on this one- I’m going to get torn apart for this, but my impression is that York St. Johns has a focus on teaching/nursing, meaning their graduates can often move directly into the jobs they are trained for. Surely it’s similar to how medicine degrees have such good employability prospects- you end up trained for a very specific job. Compared to a degree in PPE/History from York, I could see how YSJ ends up a few percentage points higher.

    On George’s ‘waitressing’ point, maybe that’s why the Guardian’s table puts many Drama/Media universities above Cambridge (some have 95%)- no weighting is given to the ‘intensity’ of the job.

    I’ll go give Primark a call…

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  6. 18 Jul ’10 at 1:13 am

    Still, not bad

    ah 88% isnt too bad, considering that (I beleive anyway) many students at York are not career orientated or wish to pursue higher education. There are some very bright students at York studying humanities btw, who have just as much chance of entering firms like Accenture or banks like HSBC, similar to a CS grad. Lets not play the whole ‘my degree is worth more than yours’ thing.

    More involvement in careers fairs, reaching out to SME’s rather than big employers and workshops to improve CVs will help the employment rankings. despite that York is quite isolated, we can take steps as a union to ensure that our employment prospects rise.

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  7. Fairly sure this is an increase on previous years for York and therefore something to be seen as an improvement and not a ‘horror story’ – though we know we’ve always been weak in this area and still need lots of improvement!

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  8. ‘However, York is also very well regarded by other academic institutions. Many York graduates go on for further study in Oxbridge or Ivy League schools. If one can find financial support or can afford a masters, I would definitely recommend they apply.’

    Not sure this is a great argument for how good York uni is.. If the bonus of York is that it is merely a stepping stone to better universities (for those who missed the cut the first time round), then that doesn’t say a lot about York (although it may be the case).

    For instance, if the aspiration is to get to Oxford, then to have studied at Oxford from the start, rather than first ‘wasting’ 3 years at a lower level uni., would have been a greater achievement. Whilst this is fairly obvious, York uni. should not aspire to be a stepping stone towards the ‘Oxford goal’.. it should aspire to one day rival Oxford- otherwise what’s the point? Surely all universities want to achieve the highest reputation possible? Apologies if I have missunderstood the comment.

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  9. *In short, the comment suggested that we are the new Durham in basically being the place where Oxford rejects go, in order to give them a second shot at the gold later on. True as that may be it’s kind of sad, and definitely not a plus point of the uni.

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  10. 19 Jul ’10 at 11:48 pm

    York is a great Uni but needs work.

    York is a great uni imo. I chose it over Durham and it wasn’t a bad decision at all. The problem tends to be that a lot of student at York are not career orientated, nor to the careers office make as much an effort as they do in similar ranking unis like Bristol and Manchester. In fact, Manchester is somewhat of a titan in terms of careers.

    so basically, we need to get our societies more active in the career front. Start talking to big companies and smaller SME’s , and there are some great ones doing innovative work and could use computer scientists, scientists in general and mathematicians. Talk to more consultancies and Law firms, not just the magic circle, but more specialist firms, and furthermore, get more of the student body involved in making this work. Its all well and good to party and drink ourselves silly but once we are out of our twilight years at York and face the terrible world (where jobs will be even tighter) we might have wished we used our reputation more wisely.

    I also reckon we should work with other unions like Leeds and Sheffield to attract employers and increase our standing on the employability scale. it is a shame that the brightest students at York see it as the ‘stepping stone’ to better institutions when we easily have the capacity to create marketable students. despite being a newer uni, we have had great academic alumni, the current leader of the Labour Party and several high profile writers. Lets continue this legacy !

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  11. Cami, what I meant is that York is very academic, which means that its graduates can continue their education in ‘higher ranking’ universities. This does not mean that York is only good as a stepping stone. What I meant to say is that York does provide a very good education, a fact recognised by well respected institutions.

    Unfortunately, York is not well networked with recruiters. Some firms regard York as being worse than comparable institutions, such as Manchester and Warwick. Others, whilst considering York a very good university, do not attend its career fairs because it’s too far (I’ve actually been told that by a recruiter).


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  12. While the 88% is definitely good news, I think York really needs to get more competitive in academics and careers destinations. Staying around the bottom of the top 10 universities shouldn’t be good enough – we need more capital directed at science and engineering (and I say that as a PPE student).

    The careers service also needs to improve. Beyond some waffle about ‘not wasting your summer’ I don’t remember much specific advice about careers/CVs/work experience in my first year. And they need to be more imaginative at careers fairs (looking beyond the big law and accountancy firms) and getting in more recruiters (since York is technically in the middle of the country, saying ‘it’s too far’ is pretty dismal. I wonder if Durham/Edinburgh get worse treatment in that case).

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  13. The percentage given for CS graduates is a bit misleading, as that’s for the country as a whole. For graduates from York, the employment percentage for CS graduates is a tad over 90%.


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