York is home to two large universities in the shape of the University of York and York St. John University, both with their own specialities and impressive track record of graduates bowling over employers with their skills and experience. But we wanted to know exactly why graduate recruiters and employers were so desperate to interview or speak to graduates from the Yorkshire city. What was it that that made them so special?
To investigate this we looked at the data we had on graduates from the city of York. We viewed the city as a whole, not separating graduates from the University of York and the York St John University. We looked at the data they submitted between the years 2009 and 2014 when registering with graduate-jobs.com. To look at what made them so special we looked at career ambitions, degree classification and whether or not they had work experience. These were the three indicators we used to see if graduates from the city were really so special, and our data shows they definitely are.
Looking at the sectors that graduates from York have chosen we can begin to see what kind of graduates the city was producing, what industries they were interested in and how popular certain sectors were more popular or not there. However, York showed very little difference to the national average.
Looking at the most popular sectors chosen by graduates from the city of York we could see few differences between those chosen by the UK as a whole, but only the numbers in which certain graduates floated to certain industries. The most popular five sectors chosen by York graduates and graduates from the UK as a whole, were Management, Marketing, Finance, Advertising and Public Relations and Banking.
These are popular sectors for obvious reasons, but the only thing that stood out was the amount of York graduates that wanted to work in Finance. While just 21.6% of national average wanted to work in Finance, a larger 29% of York graduates wanted to work in this sector.
Degree classifications can be a tricky indicator to use, especially nationally, as there is no national consensus on grade boundaries and they differ from university to university. But as this study is not looking at individual universities, but cities and regions, this is less of a concern.
However, in York it is clear that there has been a lot of hard work taking place. Nationally, only 9.8% of graduates managed to be awarded the top grade of a First Class Degree, while at York it's clear they've got a good work ethic. An impressive 12.5% of graduates managed to be awarded this top mark. And this wasn't just the case with the very bright. An impressive 56.5% of graduates from the city of York also manage to get an Upper Second Class degree (2.1), much higher than the national average of 48.1%. These high levels of academic achievement go a long way to explaining why graduates from the city of York are so highly in demand.
Work experience is viewed by employers as vitally important for getting that first graduate job. With the current graduate job market being so competitive, employers are increasingly wanting to see graduates that have some experience of the work place or who are really passionate about a particular industry and have sought out experience in a particular field. This is an area that graduates from York do not fare too well. The national average for graduates leaving university with work experience is 16.6%. However, graduates who studied in York, a slightly lower amount of 15.9% of graduates managed to get some form of work experience.