Not so bad to be a computer science graduate?

A while back I reported that detailed statistics from the UK’s Higher Education Statistics Authority showed that recent computer science graduates had a pretty poor record in finding a job.

Graduation
Graduation (Photo credit: uonottingham)

Yesterday new statistics from the UK’s National Statistics Office showed that unemployment for all recent graduates has remained persistently high – it’s been close to 9% since 2008. Even so that is much better than the position faced by younger non-graduates – where unemployment is around 14%, while older non-graduates might be seeing a small fall in the unemployment rate towards 6%.

The statistics published yesterday do not break down the position of recent graduates by subject area but they do show that maths and computer science graduates (the report insists on referring to “undergraduate degrees” when, of course, there are no such things – once you have a degree you are by definition no longer an undergraduate) have an employment rate of 89%. That is less than stellar and behind those with degrees in medicine, medical-related subjects, agriculture, technology, architecture, business and finance, media and information studies, physical sciences, and linguistics, and little better than engineering and biological sciences.

Graduates in maths and computer sciences do tend to be well paid though – the average salary is £34,008 – behind medicine, physical sciences, engineering, and architecture but ahead of everyone else.

Given that those in the software industry perennially complain that they cannot fill vacancies I am left thinking one of the following applies:

  • Recruiters expect too much (and offer too little on-the-job training) and so have to pay a premium when they do recruit;
  • Many computer science graduates are actually quite poor at programming and so are not easily employable;
  • Many computer science graduates do not work in the industry and so recruitment is difficult.