Job prospects improving for IT graduates, says HECSU report

Job prospects for IT graduates have improved for the first time during the recession, says the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU)

Job prospects for IT graduates have improved for the first time since the start of the recession.

A report from the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU) shows IT graduates are more likely to be employed six months after leaving university than those who studied other subjects  - but they are also more likely than others to be still out of work.

By January 2012, 64.2% of the class of 2011 in IT and computer science had found a job – above the national average of 61.8%, and slightly up from the previous year's figure of 63.9%.

But 13.9% of IT graduates remained unemployed – well above the average of 8.6% for all graduates, although down slightly on the 2011 figure of 14.2%

The improvement in job prospects is on a slow upward climb – in 2010, 16.3% of IT graduates were still out of work six months after graduating.

The most popular jobs for IT graduates were software engineers and designers (16%); computer analysts and programmers (7.3%); and web developers and producers (6.3%). 

But over half of IT students (52.7%) opted not to work in the IT profession at all, despite the prospect of a higher-than-average starting salary of £21,490, compared with the average graduate starting salary of £19,935.

The skills IT graduates need to show

Charlie Ball, deputy research director at HECSU, said IT graduates need to show employers they have more than just academic achievements and technical skills.

“To stand out, they should also seek to sell themselves by gaining relevant work experience and demonstrating employability skills,” Ball said.

“The IT sector has traditionally been a major destination for graduates, so the fact that it is showing such strong signs of recovery is welcome news. The figures show that, even in the current economy, IT graduates can and do get jobs. 

"Students need to prepare for a difficult jobs market, but there are opportunities out there, so don’t give up hope."

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