Less than half of university graduates in the UK are working in a career that relates to their degree.
A poll of UK-based 2,000 graduates found 22 percent of these went into a job that didn’t require any of their qualifications straight after completing their degree.
One in five started to look for employment that related to their studies but ultimately had to shelve their plans as they needed to start earning.
While 23 percent of those not working in a field relating to their studies found relevant opportunities where they lived at the time hard to come by.
And 21 percent didn’t have the work experience to land a job.
Despite three years of studying, one in 10 of these have since decided to retrain for another industry.
As a result, 28 percent wish they’d chosen a different route like going to work from school (47 percent) or an apprenticeship (46 percent).
James Jennings, apprenticeship manager for British Gas, which commissioned the research, said: “While university is a fantastic option for some, it isn’t always the best – and most successful – route into a career.
“In fact, as the research shows, for many it doesn’t actually lead to a role relating to their studies.
“The view that university is the preferred route for employers is an outdated one.
“These findings show just how important it is for those considering university to evaluate whether it is the right path for them into their desired career.
“Just as importantly, they must explore whether a more vocational program would be better suited to what they want to achieve.”
Of those not working in a role relating to their degree, 45 percent enrolled in it because they are passionate about the subject matter.
While 36 percent opted for it because they had excelled at the subject during their years at school.
But 22 percent of these chose this path because they thought there would be ample work opportunities once they had graduated.
Following graduation, people spent an average of six months applying for roles relating to their degree before looking at other avenues.
And for those now working in a job relating to their degree, it took an average of seven months to land their first role.
But 45 percent of these didn’t receive any vocational training while studying.
Subsequently one in five (21 percent) did not feel well prepared for the position.
For 6 percent, the main reason they went into higher education was ‘to have a good time.’
This research comes after a report from Centrica – British Gas’s parent company – created in partnership with GMB union, called for urgent reforms to the skills system in the UK to create the workforce needed to reach net zero by 2050.
It also set out the need to destigmatize vocational training – particularly apprenticeships – to improve the status of green skills.
James Jennings, from British Gas, added: “Apprenticeships and vocational training are an extremely successful way to start and progress a career, and are equally valuable to the employers offering them.
“Our report shows that greater flexibility over training and qualifications, and establishing a system that encourages even more people down a vocational route, are both essential if we’re to create the workforce the UK needs to meet its energy ambitions.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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