Our annual research report What do the bright graduates want? 2016/17 reveals what over 2,000 students studying at UK universities think about their future career prospects.
- 70% of students believe it is important to secure a graduate job before they finish university
- When asked to choose whether it’s more important to gain a top grade at university or a graduate job, 55% of students said the former
- Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME) students are more highly motivated than average when it comes to their career with 14% thinking it’s more important to secure a graduate role before they finish university compared with the average graduate
- Female students take more time with their career decisions, being 29% more likely than men to be unsure as to what they should do once they finish university. They are also more focused on academics - 14% more women than men think gaining a top grade at university is more important than getting a graduate job
- Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME) students are more keen to make contacts and network with 14% more likely to have a LinkedIn profile
- Male graduates are more confident about their life after university with 71% thinking they can pursue any career path they wish, compared with just 63% of women
- 81% of current undergraduates are already thinking about how they will juggle work and family in the future
What do the brightest graduates want? is a look at what +2,300 undergraduates studying at UK universities think about their future career. 66% of those surveyed are state-educated, 46% BAME and 14% have received free school meals. 38% are the first generation to go to university and 59% are female.
The report reveals that over 90% of graduates think it’s important to gain work experience while at university and 70% believe it is important to secure a graduate job before they finish. However, when asked to choose whether it’s more important to secure a top grade at university or a graduate job, 55% of those surveyed opted for the former with 14% more women than men thinking that gaining a top grade at university is more important than getting a graduate job.
The research also found that despite the well-known importance of internships in helping you secure a job after university, 35% of undergraduates aren’t applying for them - indicating that more needs to be done to educate them about the importance of gaining work experience. However, even once they have secured an internship or graduate job, 64% of students keep job hunting and would reject an offer made to them if they received a better opportunity at a later date.
Barriers to success
Strong competition from other graduates, lack of experience and a lack of network/contacts are seen as the biggest barriers to securing a graduate job. Women, BAME and state-school students do not tend to perceive their background or gender as a big barrier to their future career success.
When it comes to assessing their skills, male graduates rank themselves highly when it comes to problem solving whereas women perceive their organisation skills to be stronger. All of those surveyed rate their ability to negotiate and persuade, their commercial awareness and their confidence amongst their weakest skills.
30% of those surveyed worry about being perceived as overly ambitious and when asked about what career success in five year’s time looks like, graduates defined it as a good balance between their personal and professional life. 81% of current undergraduates are already thinking about how they will juggle work and family in the future.
James Uffindell, CEO & Founder of Bright Network said:
"The results from our latest survey show that undergraduates are hungry, motivated and ambitious when it comes to their future career prospects. With demand for graduates at an all-time high, the competition for this top talent remains fierce. It’s great to know that students are actively engaged with what their lives will be like once studying has finished and they enter the world of work.
However with over 70,000 unfilled graduate level vacancies in the UK, more needs to be done to educate students about the importance of gaining work experience so that they will avoid unemployment and secure a job when they graduate."
If you would like to find out more, please get in touch with Account Director Tara McKay - email@example.com / 0203 011 1612.