Women are more likely than men to go straight into work than to continue studying after getting degrees.
In its survey of graduating classes of 2015, the Higher Education Authority found that 62% of those who got an honours (level 8) degree from university had jobs by the following spring. This compares very favourably with the corresponding 48% figure for 2010 graduates.
In 2010, 41% of level 8 university graduates had gone on to further studies or training, but that figure has dropped to 31%.
More than 18,500 (73%) of the 25,000-plus people given university degrees up to doctoral level in 2015 responded to the latest survey.
Gender made little difference to 2014 graduates’ job prospects, but 64% of females who graduated with a level 8 degree in 2015 were in employment when surveyed, compared to 60% of men. Males were slightly more likely to have furthered their education, an option taken by 33% compared to 30% of women.
There was a 3% gender gap in employment rates for those who got a higher or postgraduate diploma in 2014, but that widened significantly in the latest survey. The number of working females with those qualifications was 82%, compared to 72% of males.
Just 13% of women with higher or postgraduate diplomas in 2015 went on to further studies, compared to 22% of men.
However, this might not necessarily be by choice, as access to doctoral studies can very much depend on success in applications for research funding.
There were far fewer responses than usual from teacher-training graduates, traditionally disproportionately female and with high employment rates. The lengthening of those courses meant a drop in graduate numbers in 2015.
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