Masters degrees improve employment prospects

Graduates who study for a Masters degree will considerably enhance their career prospects, according to new figures.

Eight in 10 of all 2003 UK Masters students were in employment six months after graduation, according to the latest report by Graduate Prospects, the UKÕs official graduate recruitment and careers guidance provider.

With 8 per cent of the 2003 postgraduate cohort going on to further study or training in the UK, 2.7 per cent choosing to work overseas and 3.5 per cent not yet available for work or study, the number of postgraduates who hadn’t yet found work stands just below the national average – 3.7 per cent compared with 4 per cent. This highlights that a Masters degree can offer a worthwhile ticket into the workforce.

Women Masters graduates can expect even better employment prospects than their male counterparts, with 80 per cent of the 2003 cohort in employment six months after graduation, compared with 78 per cent of men.

While reasons for postgraduate study vary – from students looking to gain a head start in their careers, to those pursuing their interest in a particular field – it seems that women are slightly more likely to study for a Masters degree than men. Of the 40,170 Masters graduates in 2003, 51 per cent were female, and 49 per cent male.

The specific choice of subjects of the 2003 cohort points to a generation of students eager to enhance their career prospects, with the top two subjects – business studies (chosen by 11 per cent of all postgraduates) and computer sciences (chosen by 5.3 per cent) – lending themselves well to the business environment.

Mike Hill, chief executive of Graduate Prospects, said: “Postgraduate study is an increasingly valuable option for students looking to enhance their career prospects, and the statistics support the employability of these well-qualified individuals. Savvy students are picking subjects that can offer them a clear route into the job market ahead of their peers.”

And these highly-qualified individuals are not just competing for entry-level jobs; almost a quarter go straight into management, with a further 16.9 per cent taking up professional occupations such as law and social work, and 13.2 per cent going into teaching.

The two biggest employment sectors for Masters graduates are education, with nearly one in five entering this field (19.2 per cent), and health (18.6 per cent). Public administration is the third largest sector, with 14 per cent of Masters graduates pursuing careers in this field.

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