Scots graduates more likely to get job - and better pay

MORE graduates from Scottish universities are likely to go on to positive destinations than from universities in the rest of the UK and they are, on average, higher earners, new figures have revealed.

Statistics from the Higher Education Statistics Agency give details of students' next steps after leaving university last summer.

Overall, 9 per cent of graduates, some 19,335 people in total, were assumed to be unemployed after graduating. But for Scottish students, the unemployment rate fell to 7 per cent.

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Graduates from Scottish universities reported the highest average salaries within a year of graduation at 21,000 compared with a UK average of 20,000.

Alastair Sim, director of umbrella body Universities Scotland, said: "I'm delighted to see that prospects for graduates from Scottish universities are the strongest in the UK.

"These results stand testament to the fact that Scotland's universities produce graduates of the highest calibre, ready to take their place in the workforce.

"This is a particular credit to the graduates themselves, who have worked hard to apply the skills acquired at university to the wider world of work."

Mr Sim added: "The recession has hit all young people especially hard over the last few years and graduates have not been immune from this, but it's clear from today's results that employers really value the contribution Scottish graduates can make to their business."

The figures come only days after a report found university leavers were facing record levels of competition for jobs, with more than 80 fighting for every position.

Employers are now receiving an average of 83 applications for each job - almost double the figure for two years ago (49), and nearly treble compared with three years ago (31).

The UK-wide figures show that 715 graduates took jobs working in factories, while 9,070 were in "elementary" positions, with a further 13,485 doing administrative or secretarial work.Some 31 per cent were working in professional or technical jobs.

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Overall, nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) - about 133,940 people - were in some form of employment, up from 59 per cent the previous year.

A further 7 per cent were both working and studying, and 16 per cent were studying only.

Unemployment was higher among men than women, with 9 per cent of all UK male students out of work after six months, compared with 6 per cent of women.

Universities minister David Willetts said: "The graduate jobs market is showing encouraging signs of improvement, with an increase in employment for the first time since the beginning of the recession.

"However, new graduates still need to work hard to maximise their chances of success."