Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates are more likely to be unemployed after six months than other graduates, despite an increased government focus on STEM education.
That is the finding of a report called The graduate employment gap: expectations versus reality published by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development,
Unemployment figures are lower than ever before but compared to a national unemployment rate of 4.9%, CIPD found STEM unemployment rates are 8.6% for computer science graduates, 6.5% for physical science graduates, 6% for engineering and technology graduates, and 6.5% for mathematical science graduates.
The CIPD is calling on employers to provide access to quality work experience for undergraduates to ensure that, alongside their education, to ensure they obtain the knowledge and skills needed to become workplace ready.
Commenting on the CIPD report, Dr David Docherty, CEO of the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB), said: “Employers are crying out for graduates with vital science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills. Therefore, it’s worrying to see that despite an increased focus on STEM education, many graduates in this area are still unemployed six months after graduating.
“It is vital we urgently improve the employability skills of all graduates, particularly those in STEM, to support young people as they move from education into the workplace. One critical part of the solution is improved access to quality work experience for undergraduates so that talented students can enter the labour market more quickly.”
The NCUB has developed new technology for employers and students, as a practical step to tackle the issue. Placer is a work experience app and platform developed in partnership with education body Jisc and Unite students.
Placer’s double-blind matchmaking tech enables businesses of all sizes to reach a diverse young talent pool of digitally native university students with key skills, far beyond their word-of-mouth networks with one, free, post.
Image: Andrea De Martin/Dreamstime
It is vital we improve the employability skills of all graduates, particularly those in STEM. One critical part of the solution is improved access to quality work experience so that talented students can enter the labour market more quickly.– Dr David Docherty, National Centre for Universities and Business