A study of the graduate class of 2009 found 8.9 per cent were out of work in January 2010 – the highest unemployment level for 17 years. The poll, by the Higher Education Careers Services Unit charity, discovered graduates with degrees in IT had the bleakest prospects with an unemployment rate of 16.3% among their number – media studies graduates also fared badly with 14.6% unemployed six months after graduation.
By contrast, geography and psychology graduates had a better than average chance of getting work – some 7.4% and 8.3% were out of a job respectively. We asked our experts why they thought graduates of these subjects were found to be least likely to be unemployed.
Dr Alison Green is the psychology programme director at the Open University (OU) and chair of the Psychology Programme Committee, the body that oversees all psychology qualifications offered by the OU
Psychology graduates gain an impressive range of skills that make them highly employable: A key factor behind this success story is that psychology graduates acquire diverse knowledge and an impressive range of skills that make them highly employable across an enviable range of professions that offer real prospects. Psychology programmes deliver skills employers value, such as numerical skills, the ability to understand and work with statistics, effective communication and the ability to work productively in teams – and this gives students a real edge when competing with graduates from other disciplines. Our Open University psychology graduates, for example, move into careers in advertising, career counselling, education, the health professions, human resources, management and social services, and of course they also have the option to progress a career in a professional area of psychology, such as forensic psychology. It’s the combination of skills and the nature of the discipline itself that not only underpins the recent growth in numbers of students studying psychology at university (and let’s not forget that psychology is the fourth most popular A-level subject too) but also assures its continuing relevance in the global marketplace.
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