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Grad route “win-win” to fill million UK job vacancies

More graduates are needed to fill around one million UK jobs, according to a new report by Universities UK. The graduate route will prove a “win-win” for employers and international students, stakeholders have said.

The report suggests that AI will increase demand for graduates. Photo: Unsplash

"It is imperative that we continue to invest in graduate talent"

The Busting graduate job myths report challenges misperceptions such as the UK graduate market being oversaturated and that degrees are of little importance to employers.

Instead, the report, written by Charlie Ball who is Jisc’s in-house specialist on the graduate labour market, found that there are one million more professional jobs than workers with degrees to fill them.

Steve West, president of UUK and vice-chancellor of UWE Bristol, highlighted the importance of the report and its findings.

“Students quite rightly want to know that going to university is worthwhile and a good investment for the future,” he said.

“Despite some questioning the value of graduate skills this report shows that employer demand for UK graduates is significant – it has increased year-on-year and is likely to grow in the future.”

The report shows that future demand for graduate skills looks favourable with a recent analysis by PWC suggesting that Artificial Intelligence will increase demand for graduates by about 10% with those in healthcare, IT, and marketing in greatest demand.

According to Stephanie Harris, acting assistant director of policy and global engagement at Universities UK International, “it is good news for the UK’s international graduates that there is strong employer demand for UK graduates”.

“It is good news for the UK’s international graduates that there is strong employer demand for UK graduates”

The report notes that the number of graduate vacancies is 20% higher than it was pre-pandemic, in 2019, with vacancies for graduates expected to increase by 22% in 2022 compared to 2021.

“Demand for graduate skills among employers remains strong – particularly in transferable employability skills such as critical thinking, communication, and leadership – and the higher education sector will be an essential component in meeting the UK’s rapidly changing skills needs,” said Alex Hall-Chen, senior policy advisor at the Institute of Directors.

Stephen Isherwood, chief executive at the Institute of Student Employers spoke on the significance of backing graduates.

“In both the short and long-term the demand for skilled graduates is only going to increase. To ensure that employers can access the talent they require right across the UK economy, it is imperative that we continue to invest in graduate talent,” he said.

Harris praised UK’s Graduate Route, launched in July 2021 as a “big step forward for international graduates seeking employment opportunities in the UK”.

“The Graduate Route is a win-win: international graduates have so much to offer companies in the UK, and students can maximise the skills they have developed during their degrees.

“But we still have lots more to do in understanding the employment expectations and outcomes of international graduates and how we as a sector can best support,” she added.

Recently, there were calls for a national campaign to support the employment ambitions of international students.

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