One in ten computer science grads unemployed

Some one in ten computer science students from last year's graduating classes have failed to find a job, according to statistics from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

While industry players have frequently claimed the UK lacks IT workers and has called for more to be trained, some have said it's actually quite difficult to find good IT work.

HESA released statistics of all graduates from 2006/07. Some 11,970 took computer science. Of those, HESA knows where 9,080 turned up. Some 6,130 about 68 per cent are working full-time in the UK, while another 190 are working full-time overseas.

Some 925, about ten per cent, have gone on to further studies. But some 880 just under ten per cent are listed as unemployed.

David Bevan, director of communications at IT recruitment firm InterQuest told IT PRO that some of those unemployed grads will be out of work by choice and others simply won't have marketable skills, despite their degrees. "Some of the university based degrees are still not business-oriented," he said.

Of the 11,970 grads to complete a computer science degree over the period, 2,050 were female. At 17 per cent of the total graduating class, that nearly mirrors the number of women working in the sector.

Women with computer science degrees are slightly more likely to take up further study than their male counterparts, and as such slightly less likely to be listed as unemployed.

Computer science grads were most likely to be working in business or research (42 per cent), followed by wholesale or retail (13 per cent) and the financial sector (ten per cent).

The statistics also showed that employed computer science grads from those years were most likely to be listed as holding a "professional occupation" (43 per cent), followed by an "associate professional position" (25 per cent).

But another 10 per cent held sales or customer service roles, while eight per cent had found jobs as managers or senior officials. Another eight per cent were listed as holding admin or secretarial jobs, and three per cent had "elementary occupation" which just doesn't sound good.

Bevan added: "There's still a massive skills shortage in certain areas, and a lot of grads have a base level of skills and need two or three years to train up."

But with many entry-level jobs being off-shored, that makes it harder to get the necessary training, he noted, putting pressure on businesses to increase spending on apprenticeships and other training methods. "It would always be good to have more budget to train people up and offer apprenticeships, but that's always been the case," he said. "UK PLC has always been guilty of undertraining."