Top UK universities for graduate employment revealed

Some unlikely candidates have snatched the top spots for the best graduate employment rates this year – is your university among them?

As great as university can be, we all reach that final year stage where we keep getting asked the same question: what are you doing next?

In fact, thinking about the future will probably be a huge part of your whole university experience, and even contribute to which universities you apply for.

With tuition fees at their highest ever levels, school leavers are thinking harder than ever about whether university is the right path.

While factors like location, university facilities and course content are of course considered, career prospects play a major part in where prospective students send their applications.

Even though the main university league tables offer few surprises, with Oxbridge and other Russell Group universities usually bagging the top spots, this table brings a refreshing new perspective.

Which universities have the best graduate employment rates?

The QS Graduate Employability Rankings reveal the top universities for graduate employment prospects based on how likely graduates are to find a job within 12 months of completing their degree.

An impressive 96.4% of students at the University of Huddersfield find a job in their first year of graduate life – well ahead of all other universities, none of whom even reach the 90% mark.

Flying the flag for Scotland, the University of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University are in joint second place, boasting impressive scores of 89.9%.

There was only data available for 35 UK universities, and at the lower end of the table are seven universities tied on 63.6%: Newcastle, Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham, Bristol, Queen’s Belfast and Essex.

The Universities of Cambridge and Oxford feature surprisingly low down on the table, sitting in 22nd and joint 23rd place respectively.

Some notable names are missing from the table altogether, including the likes of Durham, Imperial College London and the London School of Economics (LSE).

This shows that, while overall league tables are still useful, it is important to look at different perspectives and think about what is most important to you when choosing a university.

How can you prepare for graduate life?

There is no one set recipe for preparing to graduate. It is a change and a new challenge, but one that doesn’t have to be as daunting as it seems.

Perhaps the most important advice to remember is not to compare yourself to others. Just because your friend has a job lined up and you don’t, don’t think any less of yourself. Wish them well, then focus on you.

There are some practical steps you can take too, such as opening a graduate bank account and starting to save your pennies wherever possible. Even if you don’t have a specific plan, who knows when you will need that extra dollar.

If you’re wanting to start the job search you could start researching what graduate schemes are on offer and get yourself used to what job applications might require you to do.

Over and above everything, make sure you don’t sacrifice your studies in place of dreaming about the future. Planning graduate life can always wait until you’ve done your exams!

What are the alternatives to graduate schemes?

It is easy to think graduate schemes are the only choice for you when you have finished university.

Now, don’t get us wrong – graduates schemes are great. They usually offer anything between one and three years of work in your chosen industry alongside other graduates, often with the chance to try out different roles, learn, and sometimes get professional qualifications while you work.

However, they’re not for everyone. Sometimes the type of job you want to do doesn’t really have a graduate scheme option, which is fine because there are plenty of other possibilities.

You might decide to do further study like a masters to hone more specific skills before moving into a job. If you want to pursue something vocational, you will likely have to train for it before you can start making money.

Alternatively, you could apply straight for entry-level jobs. These can vary widely, with some offering comprehensive training very much like a graduate scheme, while others could be more hands-on.

Sometimes graduates decide to travel or work abroad for a time to strengthen their employability, especially if this gives them the chance to learn a new language.

Or what about setting up your own business? If you have a passion to be your own boss, why not begin now? You can always work part-time while you’re getting started!

Check out the average graduate salary for your degree!