Unemployment rate for graduates drops – but fewer are entering the job market

Graduates from UEA. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Graduates from UEA. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

The unemployment rate for graduates has hit its lowest level in nearly 30 years, a new study shows.

According to graduate careers firm Prospects the jobs market for those leaving higher education is 'robust', while there has been a sharp rise in students taking post-graduate courses.

Its research showed the unemployment rate has slumped to 5.3%, the lowest since 1989. The number of graduates entering nursing, marketing, finance and computing has increased, while medicine, teaching and engineering have seen falls.

Charlie Ball of Prospects said: 'The graduate labour market has held up well despite the economic and political shocks of 2016.

'Employers continue to recruit and need skilled workers, but some graduates are not behaving as they usually do in this kind of climate – they're turning to further study.

'This may be partly attributed to the new post-graduate loans system, but some graduates could also view further study as a safe haven, away from their fears of a Brexit downturn, which has yet to materialise.

'As a consequence, we have fewer graduates entering the jobs market than in the last two years, just when the labour market is robust and skills shortages are more serious than ever.'

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The graduate unemployment rate fell from 5.7% last year.