Press Release: Social science graduates are the most adaptable in career hunt

News Release 1st May 2013

Arts and Engineering graduates least likely to compromise career ambitions

New research reveals that graduates with a degree in the social sciences demonstrate the most diverse interests in terms of industry sectors they are keen to work in. The study by graduate-jobs.com, the largest independent graduate job board in the UK, shows that social science graduates top the industry adaptability index, graduate-jobs.com’s measure of career preferences, closely followed by business graduates. Meanwhile engineering and arts graduates are the most likely to confine their career search to sectors which are directly relevant to their degree.

Graduate-jobs.com analysed the data from nearly half a million subscribers to its graduate careers service, ranking graduates by the faculty of their degree in terms of their willingness to transfer their skills to the greatest diversity of industry sectors.

Industry Adaptability Index

Rank Faculty
1Social Sciences
2Business Management
3Languages
4Public Service
5Applied Sciences
6Medicine & Health
7Life Sciences
8Arts
9Engineering

Arts graduates and engineers most focussed

The index shows that graduates of arts faculties – including graduates of subjects such as Art & Design, History of Art and Music – are unlikely to look at a diverse range of career options. Only engineering graduates show a greater focus on industry sectors more tightly aligned to their degrees. Graduates of the arts overwhelmingly look for arts-related careers, at museums or galleries for example, though a proportion look at careers in advertising or public relations. Graduates of engineering overwhelmingly focus their career search in sectors such as Manufacturing & Production, Telecommunications, or Computing & IT.

Social science graduates span sectors

Graduates of the social sciences are the most likely to show diverse industry sector interests. Those who graduate from the social sciences faculties – including subjects such as politics, psychology and history – top the list of those searching for careers outside the field of their degree in sectors as diverse as Military & Defence, Secretarial & Business Administration, Sport & Recreation and Travel & Hospitality.

Gerry Wyatt of graduate-jobs.com said, “With the current job climate so fiercely competitive, you’d expect graduates to focus on the more vocational elements of their skill set and on sectors most relevant to their degree. Yet graduates of social sciences, business and languages are keen to adapt their skills to a diverse range of industry sectors at the outset of their career search. By contrast, arts graduates have nearly as narrow a career focus as engineering graduates. The stereotype of arts graduates waiting tables hoping for a big break is backed up by our data, which shows these graduates strongly focussing on industry sectors directly related to their degree subjects. Arts graduates should recognise the benefits of broadening their job search and the transferability of their skills to other industry sectors.”

Rank Sector
1Marketing / Advertising / Public Relations / Media
2Management & Consultancy
3Banking & Finance
4Human Resources
5Public Sector & Services
6Science, Technology & IT
7Accounting
8Retail
9Sales
10Education

The most popular sectors amongst graduates are Marketing, Advertising, PR and Media, whilst Retail, Sales and Education are the bottom of the top ten. Gerry Wyatt said, “Marketing, Advertising, PR and the Media are exceptionally competitive even though there are few clear barriers to entry in terms of degree studied. However it’s also possible that graduates consider roles in these sectors to be ideal ways to develop their skills without closing the door on a future career move – once they have a better sense of what they’d like to do. By contrast, sales and education are less popular, despite the abundance of sales jobs and the government’s drive to recruit more teachers. Teaching jobs have a low barrier to entry for graduates, and come with incentives such as interest free bursaries to train and a competitive starting salary.”

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Notes to editors:

For further editorial information contact graduate-jobs@pwkpr.com or call 02076091900

Methodology

In April 2013, graduate-jobs.com analysed the data of 470,063 of its subscribers. Subscribers were grouped according to a faculty based upon the degree they studied at university. The data was then analysed to show what proportion of graduates from each faculty indicated that they wanted to work in each of graduate-jobs.com's 40 industry sectors offering careers for graduates. From this analysis, the faculties were ranked for each industry sector by the proportion of students from each faculty selecting the industry as one they would wish to work in. The sum of these rankings was then used to identify the students from the faculties that show greatest willingness to work in the greatest diversity of industry sectors, to deliver the industry adaptability index.

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About graduate-jobs.com
graduate-jobs.com is the largest independent graduate job board in the UK. It enables SMEs and large organisations in the UK to post graduate job advertisements and search CVs in a quick and cost effective way. The company also operates graduate-women.com, second-jobber.com, future-talent.com and postgraduate-study.com

GCHQ