From education to employment

Four in five students accepted into their first choice university

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University leaders encourage students entering Clearing to consider strength of graduate job opportunities

  • 79% of 18-year-old students have gained a place at their first choice university    
  • 91% have been accepted on either their firm or insurance choice    
  • As students weigh up study and career options, new UUK report shows importance of graduate skills    
  • UK workforce needs 11 million extra graduates to fill jobs by 2035, with 16 out of 20 occupations with the highest projected growth at graduate level

Universities are set to welcome hundreds of thousands of new students from across the country, with 79% of 18-year-old applicants gaining a place at their first choice university or college.

The figure is up on the 74% accepted to their first choice in 2019, the last time grading arrangements were comparable. When first choice and insurance choices are combined, more than 9 in 10 (91%) of 18-year-old students were accepted.

As students collected their results, university leaders have reminded prospective students that, whether they didn’t quite get the grades they needed, have done better than expected, or have just decided to apply, Clearing offers many opportunities that could equip graduates with skills which are in high demand from employers in the jobs market.

Universities UK’s (UUK) new report, Jobs of the future, shows that more than 11 million extra graduates will be needed to fill jobs in the UK by 2035, in addition to the 15.3 million graduates currently in the UK workforce.

The report highlights a diverse range of jobs and sectors in need of graduates. These include computing, engineering, creative industries, lawyers, accountants, actuaries, architects, surveyors, HR, advertising, marketing, sales and more.

88% of new jobs are projected to be at graduate level by 2035, meaning the many years of unbroken growth in demand for graduate skills is set to continue.

Universities UK’s Chief Executive, Vivienne Stern MBE, said:

“I want to congratulate all those who have received their results today. This group of students have faced a tough ride but despite that a greater proportion of them have gained a place at their first choice institution versus the last comparable year.

“For some students who have done better than expected, or just missed out on the grades they needed for their first or insurance offer, there is lots of good advice and guidance available via the UCAS website. It is a stressful day for some, but our report shows the wealth of opportunities graduates will have in the future job market meaning that going to university remains a great decision.

“It is notable that the proportion of international students accepting places at our universities is the same as last year and down from 2019, knocking down the narrative that domestic students are in some way losing out.”

The UUK report also revealed that, on average, graduates have more career options, are more likely to find employment compared to non-graduates (with 86.7% of graduates being employed, compared to 70.2% of non-graduates), and earn more. Over their working lives, graduates will be more than £100,000 better off on average by going to university even after taxes and student loan repayments are considered. 

UUK also conducted a survey with FTSE350 companies which found that there is growing demand for graduates from a broad range of disciplines. The survey found that six in 10 (61%) senior figures and talent acquisition specialists at the UK’s FTSE350 listed companies say more creative thinkers are needed to make the most of new AI tools – while new analysis shows AI and machine learning specialists are among the fastest growing roles globally.

Indeed, more than half (54%) of FTSE350 listed companies in the UK expect the future workforce will need to retrain at least once in their career due to the rapid pace of technological change and as such, 56% say the government needs to make university courses more accessible to workers in their mid-to-late career.

Alex Hall-Chen, Principal Policy Advisor for Sustainability, Skills, and Employment at the Institute for Directors, said:

“Persistent and acute skills shortages is one of the most pressing concerns for UK businesses. The demand for transferable skills – such as critical thinking and communication – remains strong across all sectors, and the UK’s higher education sector will play a crucial role in building a talent pipeline with the skills that businesses need to thrive.”

To download the Jobs of the future report and see top findings from the survey of FTSE350 leaders, please visit here.

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