Research from Universities Scotland highlights the value of going to university, including that:
- 84.5% of Scottish graduates credit their university with helping them gain employment
- 74% of Scottish graduates found a job reflective of their ambitions in under a year thanks to their degree
- 75% of business leaders believe going to university enables graduates to build transferable skills crucial to Scottish industry
Compelling new data released today (Monday 31 July) by Universities Scotland reveals that 84.5% of Scottish graduates credit going to university with enabling them to find the job they wanted.
The research, based on the perspectives of 500 Scottish graduates and 502 business leaders (business owners, founders, board members, CEOs, directors, and senior managers) across Scotland, also reveals that 80.8% of graduates say going to university enabled them to build skills that have proved professionally valuable.
What graduates said:
- Almost three quarters of graduates (73.8%) said that their university experience contributed to getting the type of job they wanted with 69.4% of graduates believing that going to university enabled them to find their job faster.
- The real-world relevance of a university degree is valued by students, with 73.6% of graduates agreeing that going to university gave them a good foundational knowledge of the sector or industry they are working in. A further 69.2% agreed that going to university helped them understand how their sector works in practice.
- Universities across Scotland offer opportunities career opportunities, either as part of a degree or as an extra-curricular activity, with almost two-thirds of graduates (65.8%) saying they had a form of work experience or work placement as part of their time at university which has helped them in their career.
What business leaders said:
- Over three quarters (76%) of senior managers believe that university enables graduates to build skills that are professionally valuable.
- 76% senior managers believe that going to university gives graduates good foundational knowledge of their industry or sector.
- 74.3% of senior managers believe that going to university gives graduates crucial transferrable skills that can be applied to jobs in their sector, and other sectors. These findings highlight the strength of existing ties between universities and the private sector, and their central role in addressing skills gaps for Scottish and UK industries.
- 70% of senior leaders believes that going to university helps graduates understand how their sector works in practice and reflecting on their own journeys,
- 83% of senior managers, who have an undergraduate degree, believe going to university gave them a good foundational knowledge of their industry/sector.
- 80.6% of senior managers felt going to university enabled them to build skills that have proved valuable in their professional life.
Sir Paul Grice, Vice Convener of Universities Scotland and Principal of Queen Margaret University, commented:
“It’s hugely heartening to see this data reinforce the career-relevance of the skills and experience in an undergraduate degree; both graduates and their employers think so. It’s clear from this survey that a degree equips graduates with an enormously valuable set of transferrable skills, highly relevant to a range of sectors and builds a good foundational knowledge of industry.
“The recent Withers review of skills called for Scotland to end the false dichotomy between vocational and academic education. This data reinforces that call and makes it clear that universities deliver professionally-relevant skills, highly valued by employers and help to build successful careers.”
The Scottish Government’s Education and Skills Secretary Jenny Gilruth MSP said:
“Scotland’s internationally renowned universities are among our greatest assets and this research underlines the continued strength and importance of the sector. The overwhelming majority of both graduates and business leaders are clear about the role of a university education in securing work and building crucial transferable skills which are vital for our economy.
“We have record numbers of students from Scotland attending our universities, and last week’s Report on Widening Access highlighted that we have a record number of full-time first degree entrants from our most deprived areas, meaning even more people in Scotland are benefitting from the opportunities this research highlights.
“It is clear that our universities are playing an important social and economic role – helping people to reach their full potential and delivering many of the skilled graduates our economy needs across a range of sectors. I look forward to working with the sector to build on this success in the years ahead.”