After university, many graduates find it difficult to find a job that matches the expertise they have learnt during their degree, and often settle for a low-skilled job. But if you’re white, male and well-off then fear not, apparently you’re much more likely to gain a professional job after qualifying.
A study by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) has found that professional employment rates for black, Bangladeshi and Pakistani graduates from 2011 were as much as nine percentage points lower than white graduates.
Although the differences in overall employment rates between white graduates and those from minority ethnicities are smaller for graduates in 2011, compared to the last set of data from graduates in 2009, the differences in professional employment rates show little improvement.
Even more than three years after leaving university, white males from an advantaged background dominated the professional classes, according to the analysis.
There were continuous gaps between male and female graduates, as 79% of men are in professional occupations or study, compared with 74% of women, although a greater amount of women were in jobs overall.
The analysis also found graduates from the most advantaged backgrounds have significantly higher professional employment rates than those from the least advantaged backgrounds, for both students graduating in 2009 and 2011. This was the same rate at both six and 40 months after qualifying.
The only minority ethnic group that saw similar employment rates to their white peers were ethnic Chinese graduates from 2011, whose professional employment rates improved from the last hefce survey of graduates in 2009.
Christopher Millward, Hefce’s director of policy said: “The report supports previous Hefce analysis in demonstrating that there continues to be serious challenges to achieving equality of outcomes for graduates from ethnic minority groups, graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds and women, particularly in terms of securing professional employment.
“Higher education can be a powerful force for social mobility but this requires not just access to and success within university. It also requires successful transition into rewarding careers. This report demonstrates the imperative for higher education providers to work with employers to address this.”