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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 November 2005, 16:26 GMT
Media students 'most employable'
Lecture hall
Graduate unemployment has fallen for a second year
Media studies students - sometimes stereotyped as studying "Mickey Mouse" degrees - are among the most employable of any graduates, says a major survey.

The latest "What Do Graduates Do?" survey of over 200,000 ex-students reveals that media graduates have among the highest employment rates.

The survey shows that graduate unemployment has fallen for the second year running.

But an increasing number of college leavers have taken "non-graduate" jobs.

With the forthcoming increases in tuition fees, there have been debates about the value of degrees - and whether students will achieve a return on their investment.

Best prospects

Mike Hill, chief executive of the Higher Education Careers Services Unit, which publishes the report, described the findings as "good news for graduates and the economy" and highlighted a strengthening jobs market for IT graduates.

The latest figures, based on those leaving university in 2004, show that graduate unemployment has fallen by 0.5% to 6.1% - with the "best immediate employment prospects" being for former students of marketing, media studies and civil engineering.

Six months after leaving university, an average of 63% of students from all courses are in employment - while for media studies the figure is 71%. Many of those who are not in work are pursuing further studies - such as law graduates (only about a third are working six months after graduation).

Among graduates with media or "culture" degrees, only about one in five went into jobs directly related to their studies.

This pattern is similar to other courses, with a majority of students not beginning work within employment areas directly related to their degrees. For instance, only about 14% of psychology and sociology graduates went into jobs categorised as "social and welfare professions".

The longer-term lowest unemployment rates are for those graduating in architecture, law and civil engineering.

This year's group of university leavers faces a slightly improving jobs market - but graduate unemployment still remains higher than in the mid-1990s.

Health workers

The biggest sector for these recent graduates is health - employing about one in eight graduates six months after leaving university.

There were also increases in the number of graduates going into marketing, sales and advertising, IT, business and finance.

In contrast, the proportion of graduates entering "science professions" fell from 1.2% to 1.1%.

A year after graduation, the survey says that 12.3% of graduates are working in "clerical and secretarial" occupations - an increase of 1 percentage point.

Mr Hill says that interpretations of this category as "non-graduate" can be misleading - as more than three-quarters of these students go on to use these entry-level jobs as springboards to graduate jobs.

"What is particularly gratifying is that despite more graduates looking for jobs each year, businesses seemingly cannot get enough of them," said Mr Hill

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