Graduate unemployment has increased this year for the first time in 10 years, a study by the higher education Careers Services Unit reveals.
The CSU attributes this year's increase to 6.3 per cent from an all time low of 5.5 per cent the previous two years, largely to the decline in the IT industry.
Mick Hill, chief executive of CSU, said the organisation had predicted that the 10-year downward trend in graduate unemployment would come to an end.
"This current increase follows two years where graduate unemployment remained at an all-time low and is still a long way from the highs of 8.2 per cent five years ago," he said.
The study reveals that degrees in civil engineering and accountancy offer the best employment prospects, followed by business and management studies, media studies and building.
According to the What do Graduates do? report, 67.7 per cent of graduates in 2001 found work within six months of graduation, with nearly a fifth opting for further studies. Nearly two-thirds of graduates secured professional employment.
Nearly four-fifths of civil engineering graduates found employment within six months, as did a similar proportion of accountancy graduates.
However, only 72.6 per cent of last year's IT graduates found work within six months, down from 79.9 per cent in 2000.
The study finds that graduate employment trends often mirror popular culture, and attributes a large rise in the number of women studying law since 1996 to the high profile of barrister Cherie Booth and the TV show Ally McBeal.