Mature graduates enter the graduate job market with many of the qualities employers struggle to identify in most graduates.
A mature student is defined as someone who attends university over the age of 21. UCAS says over 40% of mature students are over the age of 30 and go to university for a variety of reasons from professional development or to learn to skills for a career change. Mature graduates often enter the job market with a range of advantages over the majority of graduates.
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The majority of mature graduates will enter the job market with several years under their belts. Experience is often the biggest barrier for graduates finding work. Mature students should show employers they understand work place expectations and have genuine work place experience, and then they will be able to impress in areas first degree graduates don't.
2. More likely to be employed
Data from the most recent study on mature graduates, What do Graduates Do? 2014, shows mature graduates are more likely to be employed than first degree graduates. Six months after graduation, 72.7% of mature graduates were in employment, compared to 70% of first degree graduates.
According to the study, mature graduates are also slightly less likely to be unemployed. 7.2% of mature graduates were unemployed or waiting to start work compared to 7.3% of first degree graduates.
Popular sectors for mature graduates
3. Mature graduates go places
Mature graduates find work in more attractive positions, according to the same What Do Graduates Do? 2014 study. 77.2% of mature students in employment were in professional or managerial roles, in comparison with 66.3% of first degree graduates.
4. Legal protection
Graduates, mature or otherwise, do not need to disclose their date of birth on their CVs or other application forms. Since the Equality Act 2010, a consolidating piece of legislation, employers cannot reasonably discriminate against applicants because of their age. Graduate Schemes are not mentioned by the legislation but employers have been advised they need an objective justification for any age restrictions.
If mature graduates feel like they have been discriminated against because of their age, they can seek advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Jobs for mature graduates
The destination of mature graduates varies but many prefer to focus on specific sectors because of their higher levels of experience or reason for returning to university later in life, such as retraining or career development.
The 2014 study shows three in ten mature graduates work as health professionals. Mature graduates are twice as likely to work in education and seven times more likely to work in the legal, social or welfare sectors.
There is nothing to worry about for mature graduates in the race to start their careers. Employers believe mature graduates have the nous and drive to succeed, especially with their higher understanding of office expectations. There are protections in place to ensure mature graduates are not discriminated against and can reach their dream careers, no matter when they left university.
Image Credit: Tim Gouw