More Oxford graduates are waiters than engineers

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The University has published statistics on graduate employment which reveal that, six months after graduating, more people worked as waiters or bar staff than worked as mechanical or civil engineers. 

Of the students who replied to the sur­vey, 49.5 per cent were in work only, six per cent in study and work, and 31.8 per cent in study only, with 5.9 per cent unemployed. In comparison, the most recent figures suggest that the national graduate un­employment rate is currently 20 per cent while the general national rate is 8.4.

Will Heard who graduated from Jesus in 2010 commented, “Oxford graduate un­employment is only just below unemploy­ment rate in the UK. Shocking.”

The director of the Oxford University Careers Service, Jonathan Black, told Cher­well that one reason for a lower unemploy­ment rate than the national average is that Oxford students are a “Highly desirable group of people, sought out by employers. They have fabulous transferable skills.” 

However, Black added that employers, “Do mark Oxford students down on team­work and business awareness.” 

Emily Jamieson, a 2010 history graduate from Jesus, commented, “At other univer­sities far fewer people are going to choose to keep on studying, or even have the op­tion available to them. So the fact Oxford has low unemployment is maybe more a reflection of people carrying on study than being able to go straight out and find work.”

Those studying medical sciences were most likely to find a job six months after leaving university, with only 2.2 per cent of them unemployed, none of whom were undergraduate medics. In the humanities, this figure jumps up to 7.8 per cent, with 13 per cent of graduates from the Oriental Studies Faculty unemployed.

While Magdalen had only 2.4 per cent of students claiming to be unemployed, Mansfield has the highest unemployment rate of 10 per cent.

 

 

However, Susanna Elliott, an Orien­tal Studies student from Mansfield, commented, “I’m not particularly worried about my employment pros­pects – which degrees are most val­ued come and go in phases. Having a good degree from Oxford, in what­ever subject, is still a solid basis for gaining employment.” 

Joshua Felberg, another Mansfield student reading Oriental Studies, commented, “While I am confident about my prospects in the future, I am worried that this disparity be­tween colleges comes down to nep­otism within other colleges. An Oxford degree should be worth the same whatever college it is from.” 

According to the report, science undergraduate students were the best paid, with materials scien­tists claiming an average salary of £35,300. Those who graduated from the English Faculty were the worst paid, with an average salary of £18,700. 

Univ English student, Louise Car­ey, commented, “I’m taking this de­gree because I love the subject rather than because I think it will land me a great job. I find English fascinating and rewarding so I wouldn’t say it’s been useless to me. If I’d wanted to maximise my employability I would have taken PPE or something.” 

Keble undergraduates had an av­erage salary of £35,900 six months after leaving, whereas those who graduated from Wadham were paid an average of £20,700. The college with the most students going on to further study is Merton, at 54.3 per cent. New College had the highest percentage of undergraduates find­ing employment, with 59.6 per cent of all students securing a job six months after leaving. 

The largest employer of Oxford students is the NHS, which employed 281 graduates over the last three years. Oxford University employed 266 six months after their gradua­tion. Thereafter, the major employ­ers are financial services firms such as Deloitte, PwC and Deutsche Bank. 

40 per cent of those with under­graduate degrees earned less than the student loan repayment thresh­old of £21,000. 

Considering graduates of both graduate and non-graduate degrees, 51 per cent of humanities students were paid less than this figure, whereas only 15 per cent of the Medi­cal Sciences division had a salary less than this. 

The figures also highlighted a sig­nificant gender divide in salary lev­els. In the Social Sciences, 62 per cent of male undergraduate students earn the median wage of £24,500, whereas only 37 per cent of female students earn that amount sixth months after graduating. 

Marta Szczerba, a 2011 PPE gradu­ate from St John’s, and now a man­agement consultant, claimed that there was “a definite advantage” from studying at Oxford. She as­serted that many companies only visit Oxbridge, LSE and Imperial so students from those universities are much more likely to be employed in those services. She also said that an Oxford education was a “signal” to employers, making Oxford students “more credible candidates”. 

She added, “I think the job situa­tion was much better for those in my year who got a job in third year, even for industries such as banking and management consultancy. Those of my friends who did not find work in third year are finding it a lot harder to get a job now.” 

Matthew Robinson, a 2008 Law graduate who was employed by McKinsey after leaving Oxford and then co-founded a technology com­pany, commented, “I think Oxford graduates have the same level of workplace-related skills as other graduates. However, it does give a huge advantage in how employers perceive you. 

“There is an increasing value in technology skills which make busi­nesses more efficient, and degrees which give these skills or rigorous maths-based skills are more valu­able. The exception to this is PPE, which employers believe gives a suit­ably broad skill-set.” 

Oliver Moody, a journalist who graduated last year from St Anne’s, said, “I think it is easier for Oxford students to find jobs – as long as they focus. If you know what you want to do, build up a half-decent CV and think hard about where you want to go after university. You can make an Oxford degree work for you.” 

However he continued, “There were a lot of people who just assumed that an Oxford degree would magi­cally confer a perfect, well-paid job without any real effort or thought. They didn’t do so well. There are a lot of hungry, focused students at less prestigious universities who are serious competitors in the market­place, and, as employers are increas­ingly looking for the finished article, they have the edge over Oxford stu­dents who don’t get around to look­ing beyond university. 

He added, “Of my friends from Oxford, about half have just started white-collar professional jobs, and the other half are still living with their parents.” 

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