Students call for greater transparency about graduate job prospects
With near-record numbers of 18-year-olds making applications to university, it has been suggested that students should be provided with greater detail about the employment prospects for the courses they choose to study.
Research carried out by the Social Mobility Commission into the employment impacts of higher and further education evidenced vast disparities in earnings between courses. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds were shown to experience increased inequality, with fewer being admitted to courses with more well-paid job prospects. A number of courses were also damned for failing to boost salaries.
Speaking of these disparities, Alun Francis, interim chair of the commission, stated that “many of the more selective universities are top performers for boosting earnings but worst offenders for providing access to students from low socioeconomic backgrounds”.
He added, “to improve social mobility, we need these universities to do even more to improve access” by “ensur[ing] prospective students are aware of the earnings implications of all their higher education and further education options, so they can make an informed choice, before applying”.
We need these universities to do even more to improve accessAlun Francis
Despite this, the latest UCAS admissions figures show that sixth-form students continue to be enthusiastic about progressing to higher education, with the number of UK 18-year-old applicants rising by 17 per cent in the past five years.
The report concluded, “of course, students may still choose these courses for other valid reasons but they need to be aware of the possible labour market implications”. In turn, increased awareness may encourage female students to apply to STEM subjects; with just 65,000 women starting STEM apprenticeships since 2016/17, compared to 522,000 men.