Although few would argue that Oxford and Cambridge Universities aren't the premier higher education institutions in Britain, in at least one important respect, smaller, less well known schools leave them behind. According to Rebecca Ratcliffe of The Guardian, three schools – Robert Gordon, Glasgow Caledonian and Derby University – outperformed Oxbridge when it came to graduating students securing employment or admission to post-graduate programs.
Admittedly, the difference isn't that great. According to the table released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, 97.7% of Robert Gordon graduates, 96.2% of Glasgow Caledonian graduates and 96.1% of Derby graduates either had a job or a placement in a post-graduate program 6 months after receiving their degree. Roughly 95% and 92% of graduates from Cambridge and Oxford, respectively, were similarly successful.
Although the data would indicate that university graduates are still getting placement in high numbers – London South Bank University, the lowest ranked, still had a placement level of 77.4% – those include graduates working in part-time jobs as well as jobs that don't require a college degree. A more detailed employment breakdown is not yet available.
Robert Gordon comes in at 55 on the Guardian league table of universities for 2014, while Glasgow Caledonian comes in at 96 and Derby at 79. Cambridge (1) and Oxford (2) top the league again.
While more than a fifth of students at some institutions were not in work or studying six months after graduating last summer, almost all students at some other universities – particularly small specialist colleges – found employment or were continuing their education.
In total, 91% of university graduates around Britain managed to either find employment or were continuing their education 6 months after finishing their degree programs. The percentages were skewed, however, by some specialized schools like the Royal Academy of Music, whose 25 graduates were all either employed or enrolled in post-grad academic programs. Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and UCL School of Pharmacy had equally high placement numbers.
The majority of the 163 UK institutions surveyed saw between 90% and 95% of graduates in work or study, while at 18 universities more than 95% of students were in this category.
Among the prestigious Russell Group universities all but one – Queen Mary (87.5%) – had an employment and study rate of over 90%. The figures come just days after research revealed that around 46 graduates are applying for every job this year.
According to Ratcliffe, this represents a marked improvement over the employment situation in previous years.