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Shadbolt Review highlights ethnicity divide in graduate employment

Computer science graduates from ethnic backgrounds are more likely to be out of work six months after graduating, according to the Shadbolt Review

A report from computer science researcher Nigel Shadbolt has highlighted a gap in employment between white graduates and those from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds.

The report also reaffirmed the gender pay gap among female computer science graduates.

As Computer Weekly previously reported, in 2015 the government announced that Nigel Shadbolt and William Wakeham would lead a review of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) degree accreditation to improve quality and graduate employability.

Now published, the Shadbolt Review of Computer Sciences Degree Accreditation and Graduate Employability reported that there are marked differences between the numbers of white and BME graduates who are in graduate roles six months after graduation.

Of those in employment, only 31% of BME graduates were in a non-graduate role, compared with 17% of white graduates, the Shadbolt Review found.

But the report noted that among those in full-time paid UK employment, the proportion of BME and white graduates earning less than £20,000 was 34%.

The Shadbolt report noted the differences between white and BME graduates was reflected across higher education.

According to Higher Education Funding Council for England research into different outcomes according to equality groups, BME graduates across all higher education subjects were less likely to be working in graduate jobs than their white counterparts.

Mind the gender gap

The report also showed a gender difference between male and female computer science graduates in terms of employment. According to the Shadbolt report, the unemployment rate among female computer sciences graduates was slightly lower than that of equivalent male graduates.

Male graduates had an unemployment rate of 13.2% six months after leaving higher education, compared with 13.0% among female graduates.

While this showed little differentiation between the sexes, when looking at those graduates taking non-graduate work and those accepting lower-paid work, the report found a clear gap between female and male computer science graduates.

Read more about graduate employment

Of those in employment, 30% of female graduates were in a non-graduate role, compared with 20% of male graduates.

Among those in full-time paid UK employment, 42% of female graduates were earning less than £20,000, compared with 33% of male graduate.

The review recommended that further research is needed into the challenges facing female computer science graduates and why more of them are entering low paid roles than their male counterparts.

It also called for further investigation into the challenges facing BME computer science graduates and why they are suffering from higher unemployment rates than other computer science graduates.

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