Interesting news of new research from Kent…

“One in three graduates ends up in a job that does not require a degree, researchers from Kent University have found. … Among creative and arts graduates, almost six out of 10 ended up in jobs for which they were over-qualified…”

Another recent study showed that male arts graduates actually harm their earnings potential by doing a degree, and yet this has been a period in which graduate wages have generally increased. There are many factors at play here, and I won’t go into them here since they’ve been better outlined elsewhere. But some of the less obvious factors may be the blind scramble to obtain a uni place near home, any uni place…

“41% of students knew little or nothing about their course before enrolment”.

…and thus a lack of “apron-string cutting” among students who are still living at home and being treated as children, compounded by the discovery that the chosen course does not really fit the student. Another factor affecting eventual industry entry may be that suggested by the Design Council’s Design in Britain 2002-2003, when they said of employer opinions of new design graduates that”…

“Poor standards [in graduates] were associated with less use of Visiting Lecturers and less studio-based activities”.

Of UCE graduates in general, the Known Destinations of UCE Graduates 2005 shows that…

In employment – 76%
Self Employed — 2.9%
Further Study — 9.3%
Due to start a job within the next month – 0.5%

Seeking Employment – 5.7%
Not available for employment – 3.2%
Response refused – 2.3%

For BIAD itself, which produced 1015 arts and media graduates in 2005, we have comparable figures for 2005 (PDF link)…

In employment – 72%
Self Employed — 7%
Further Study — 6%
Due to start a job within the next month – 1%

Seeking Employment – 7%
Not available for employment – 5%
Response refused – 2%

So BIAD’s graduates are ‘holding their own’ quite well, when judged against the UCE-wide destinations statistics. But it’s that “in employment” bit which needs investigation, in the light of the new Kent findings. There is a six month destinations survey, but it doesn’t get all graduates, and the UK creative industries needs a long-range and more fine-grained survey. There was a 1999 survey Destinations & Reflections: careers of British art, craft and design graduates (Centre for Research into Quality, UCE) which surveyed 14 universities, but that’s obviously out-of-date now. And the antique SIC/SOC codes are not good enough to winkle out the ‘creativity factor’ in modern job descriptions, nor can they capture the fluidity inherent in the most creative areas of the creative industries. A quote I blogged in 2005…

“creatives move in and out of the sector, and between sub-sectors, and have multiple paid and unpaid jobs – often all within the same month. Many microbusinesses, partnerships and self-employed are invisible to government statistics.”