One-third of graduates believe they chose the wrong degree

A third of recent graduates believe they chose the wrong degree course but most feel that their time at university has significantly improved their life skills, according to research.

One in five employees who graduated in 2005 said they should have chosen a more business-based course or a professional qualification, the study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) showed.

A quarter of the 876 graduates surveyed also said they should have chosen a more scientific or technical course.

Victoria Winkler, CIPD learning, training and development adviser, said: “A combination of fierce competition for graduate jobs and graduates taking longer to find work appears to be having an impact on their views about their choice of degree.

“The findings show that with reflection, many graduates would study a subject that relates directly to business or that will better equip them with skills that are transferable into the workplace. However, most graduates value their time at university, and would still go to university if they had their time again.”

The average starting salary for those who graduated in 2005 was found to be £19,451, only an 8% increase on the average starting salary in 2000, which was £18,016.

The report also showed that female graduates were at a serious disadvantage financially with men earning about 14% more than the average of women graduating in 2005.

Winkler said: “These findings suggest that the government needs to work alongside employers to find out what skills are needed in the workplace. This information then needs to be fed into schools and colleges so that school leavers have the information needed to make a more informed decision about the course they choose to study and their future career.”

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