By Claire West
Education Secretary Michael Russell has welcomed figures which show graduates of Scottish universities are entering professional jobs more quickly and earning higher starting salaries than graduates in the rest of the UK.
The recent publication by the Higher Education Statistics Agency outlines 90 per cent of Scottish university graduates go into either employment, further study or a combination of the two after leaving, putting Scotland ahead of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The figures also show:
The average salary for first degree graduates in full time employment in Scotland was £21,000, compared to £20,000 from English universities, £19,000 for qualifiers from Welsh universities and £20,000 for qualifiers from Northern Irish universities.
16 per cent of Scottish university leavers went into further study, compared to 13 per cent in English universities, 15 per cent for Welsh universities and 10 per cent for Northern Irish universities.
Six per cent of Scottish university leavers were unemployed six months after graduating, compared to seven per cent from England universities, seven per cent from Welsh universities and eight per cent from Northern Irish universities.
Mr Russell said:
“Today's figures demonstrate the advantages of a Scottish degree. As these figures show, our universities are leading the way, with graduates more likely to go on to further study or employment, to have a higher starting salary and to be in a professional occupation than graduates from other parts of the UK.
“While I strongly welcome these figures, we recognise the continuing challenges of securing employment and avoiding underemployment. That’s why we are continually engaging with the higher education sector and employers to improve employment opportunities. For example, we fully support Universities Scotland working closely with small and medium sized businesses to open up more paid work opportunities for graduates. As a Government, our strong message to employers is to make young people your business.
“We have provided over £1 million over the last three years to support high quality, paid graduate placement and recruitment programmes. We fully intend to support the coherent provision of graduate opportunities again this year and will announce our plans in due course.”