Taking Pride in the Job

University action on graduate employability

Taking Pride in the Job represents close to a year’s worth of conversations within the sector and with Scottish business to see what more universities can do to support their students and graduates. Our goal was to identify and share best practice in employability and entrepreneurship where it exists and to propose further action where necessary.

The impact of the recession had made itself felt on youth employment. Whilst graduates have not been immune they have shown impressive resilience. 93 per cent of graduates leaving university this year are in positive destinations of work or further study within six months. Our universities are not complacent about this track record. They recognise their role in supporting youth employment.

The report shares 21 examples of good practice and makes 22 recommendations. Many of the recommendations are for universities themselves. Some are for the Funding Council and for students and student associations.

Taking Pride in the Job looks at employability, as delivered by universities, from a number of different angles. It evaluates the way employability has been mainstreamed and embedded within Scottish universities. It considers work placements, their value, their accessibility and alternatives in an environment where demand far exceeds supply. It looks at the role of university careers services and the offer they make to students. The report gives particular consideration to small and medium sized enterprises as employers given the profile of Scotland’s business base and the additional challenges that SMEs face in engaging with universities and their students and graduates. It also considers issues of entrepreneurship as universities have a role in not only preparing students to take jobs, but to encourage and support students that have the aspiration to start their own ventures and be their own boss. The report finds evidence of a growing culture of entrepreneurship within Scotland’s universities.

Ready for work

“The Institute of Directors’ members who recruit graduates tend to think highly of their overall quality. They set great store by graduates’ employability skills when recruiting and, broadly speaking, are complimentary about what they see in their recruits.”

Institute of Directors

“Universities have many responsibilities but none can be as important or evoke as much pride and satisfaction as the job of producing talented, skilled and highly motivated graduates who have confidence in themselves and their ability to forge a successful and rewarding career – whatever shape that takes.” Professor Pete Downes, Convener of Universities Scotland

Key Points:

  • Graduates have shown great resilience despite the recession. 93 per cent are in positive destinations of work or further study within six months.
  • 90 per cent of Scottish employers find graduates well or very well prepared for the world of work.
  • All Scottish universities consider employability to be a strategic priority. This compares to only two-thirds of universities across the UK.
  • 97 per cent of university students recognise the importance of developing their employability skills
  • However the evidence suggests students are not engaging with their university careers office early enough. 75-85 per cent of students using the careers office are in the third or fourth year of their degree.

Further Reading


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