Unemployment of engineering graduates: the key issues

Atkinson, Helen; Pennington, Martin
December 2012
Engineering Education;Dec2012, Vol. 7 Issue 2, p7
Academic Journal
At a national level engineering employers say publicly that they need more engineering graduates. This project investigated the apparent contradiction between this high demand for engineering graduates and an unemployment rate of about 13% amongst UK engineering graduates. Employability has received huge attention in recent years but there remains a distinct issue of why some engineers do not get graduate level work within a short time of graduation. The project interviewed a selection of unemployed graduates in order to investigate their experiences and gain an understanding of factors impeding their entry into graduate engineering employment. The data was analysed in the context of both previous research and data from interviews with engineering employers and employed graduates. Emerging from this study is that there is no single reason for unemployment amongst engineering graduates, with key findings centring on the importance of students' early engagement with career planning and the final year application process, relevant work experience, the distinction between the MEng and the BEng in employers' recruitment criteria and the ability of graduates to articulate their skills and competences effectively.


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