Scots graduates top UK employment table

Edinburgh University students have been celebrating their graduations this week. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Edinburgh University students have been celebrating their graduations this week. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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STUDENTS graduating from Scotland’s modern universities are often more likely to find jobs than those completing degrees at their elite rivals, new figures show.

Nearly 98 per cent of students leaving Robert Gordon University (RGU) in Aberdeen and more than 96 per cent of graduates from Glasgow Caledonian University go into employment or further study within six months of completing their studies, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

While Scotland’s five “ancient” universities also scored well, the figures at Aberdeen (93.8 per cent), Dundee (93.5), Edinburgh (93), Glasgow (91.6) and St Andrews (92.9) were lower than many of their modern rivals.

Overall, figures show that 92.8 per cent of those leaving Scottish universities in 2012 were in work or further study six months after graduating, compared to 90.8 across the UK as a whole.

However, as reported by The Scotsman last week, the figures include those graduates finding work in non-professional roles and “elementary occupations”.

RGU and Glasgow Caledonian were placed 4th and 11th respectively in the UK, with both coming ahead of not only their elite rivals north of the Border, but also Cambridge, Oxford and the London School of Economics.

RGU benefits from its links with the oil industry in Aberdeen, but also requires its students to spend a year in industry as part of their course. Newer institutions are also more likely to offer vocational courses over traditional arts degrees.

Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, the university’s principal, said: “The university attaches great importance to its relationship with employers to understand what they require from our graduates.”

Professor John Wilson, executive dean and pro vice-chancellor at Glasgow Caledonian, added: “GCU staff work closely with their partners in the public, private and voluntary sectors to co-create the content of the courses offered by the university.”

Alastair Sim, director of umbrella body Universities Scotland, said: “With 13 of Scotland’s universities ranking higher than Oxford in terms of proportion of graduate leavers in employment, this is yet again vindication that Scottish universities make employability a priority for their students compared to the rest of the UK.”