New figures report revival for engineering graduates

Paul Boughton
The employment rate for new engineering graduates in the UK has improved and unemployment has dropped, according to research published by the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU).

HECSU’s What Do Graduates Do? reports the destinations of 14,295 first degree building and engineering graduates in January 2012 (six months after they left university), which makes up 5.8 per cent of the overall 2011 graduate cohort.

The figures show revival in engineering, which has experienced poor employment outcomes since the start of the recession. Employment rates for electrical and electronic engineering (63.9 per cent) and mechanical engineering (65.6 per cent) were higher than the average of all graduates from first degree disciplines (61.8 per cent).

Career prospects had also improved since the previous year with 65.8 per cent of employed mechanical engineering graduates (59.4 per cent in 2011), 36.2 per cent of electrical and electronic graduates (30.9 per cent in 2011) working as engineering professionals in January 2012 (six months after graduating).

The unemployment rate has dropped across all subjects with the exception of electrical and electronic engineering graduates –  8.9  per cent mechanical engineering (9.3 per cent in 2011) and 12.1 per cent electrical and electronic engineering (11.2 per cent in 2011).

The average salaries for full-time first degree building and engineering graduates entering full-time employment in the UK increased compared to the previous year. Average salaries: £24,825 (mechanical engineering graduates) and and £22,880 (electrical and electronic engineering).

Charlie Ball, deputy research director at HECSU says: “We welcome these signs of recovery. As the UK economy struggled with negative growth and a dip back into recession, the last year has continued to be tough for graduates, but despite this, the majority of engineering graduates have found employment, and specifically in jobs related to the subject studied. The figures show that even in difficult times, engineering 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.”

What Do Graduates Do? is published in collaboration with the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services. The report can be downloaded at

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