York graduate prospects plummet

The careers service faces criticsism as York graduates struggle for jobs

The careers service faces criticsism as York graduates struggle for jobs

With national graduate employment research indicating a 33 per cent increase in graduate job applications this year, it is feared this will have a detrimental affect on the already poor graduate employment statistics at York.

In the recent Guardian Good University Guide, employment post-graduation at the University of York fell by four per cent to just 64 per cent in 2011. This is in comparison to Universities such as UCL, who had 77 per cent of graduates gaining employment, and Durham, who achieved 76 per cent.

Similarly, in the Complete University Guide, where York was ranked 12th, it had the lowest graduate employment prospects out of the top 25 Universities in the table. It fell this year from 71.5% to 68.2%, continuing what one student termed “an alarming per cent of unemployment.”

In a survey conducted by High Fliers Research, it shows that the average number of graduate job applications made by finalists nationally has increased from 5.7 applications per student in 2009-2010, to 6.8 applications per student this year.

With the career statistics at York falling continuously over the past three years, and with the University dropping out of the top ten in both the Guardian and Complete University Guide, third year students have expressed increasing fear that the careers service is not doing enough to equip then for the “tough environment” of the graduate job market.

While concerns were raised last year, many have remarked that there has been no noticeable difference in careers assistance.

“The careers service seems to exist just to send emails, and do little else”
Third Year Student

One third year student commented: “I am staying at York to do a masters because, to be honest, I really don’t see myself with any real prospects for getting onto the employment ladder. The careers service seems to exist just to send emails, and do little else. If you want help for a career in anything other than banking or law, their use is pretty limited.”

Ben Humphreys, YUSU Academic Officer, spoke out on York’s continually poor performance in the graduate market.

“It’s ridiculous to say that somehow last year’s graduate employment stats means that this years graduates can’t get jobs” he said.

“Our external examiners (who judge student “quality”) say that York produces some of the best students in the country, but historically York students apply too little too late to hit the 6 month grad data collection. Of course we need those stats to improve, but don’t make the mistake of taking them as a ranking of student quality.”

The High Fliers survey also showed that for the first time in three years, graduates’ expected salary have risen to an average of 22,600 pounds – with students at LSE, Cambridge, Oxford, Warwick, and UCL anticipating starting on above 25,000 pounds.

Furthermore, a sixth of those interviewed expect to be earning in excess of £100,000 by the time they are 30.

Ali Prince, third year, said: “I’d expect to be earning around that, for my first job after university. But I’m very dubious about the percentage of students who think they are going to be earning over £100 000 at thirty.”

47 per cent of interviewees believed they will either start a graduate job or be looking for a graduate job after university, compared with 36 per cent in 2010.


  1. Student X from a non-arts degree had this comment to make: “I found the careers service at the University of York to be very helpful when I was putting together my CV, and very active in my department with regards to attracting prospective companies to give presentations and advertise their various graduate schemes. Whilst the booking system could be improved, if a student has the will and desire, there is a lot of good advice to be had.”

    Put bluntly, if you really want a job out of University, go and find one. Try not to blame others for your failings.

    Also, what is the deal with all of these double-barreled names?


  2. X, the careers service is actually pretty bad. Just look at their website – how easy is it to find it and browse opportunities? At Cambridge, they have one specialist for each field (law, banking, consulting, engineering etc), and for the popular fields, they have one specialist per institution (e.g. one consultant who helps people get into Bank of America, another for Goldman etc).

    They also have mock interviews, where they record the sessions and play it back to you and all sorts of other workshops and activities. They give out lists with employers, stats, anything you need.

    More importantly however, they liaise with employers to raise awareness, something that York definitely needs to do.