Research by Higher Education Careers Services Unit points to steadily improving employment picture

The jobs outlook for building, engineering and architecture graduates in the UK is brightening according to new research from the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU).

HECSU’s annual What Do Graduates Do report, which is published today (Monday) and tracks the destinations of full and part-time first degree graduates six months after leaving university in 2010, shows employment is steadily increasing and unemployment is slowly decreasing, reflecting an improving jobs market for graduates overall.

Across all of the graduates studying architecture, building or engineering, 70.9% (11,885 graduates) were in employment – a 14.5% increase on 2009 graduates – and unemployment has gone down from 11.6% to 10%.

The report also examined employment rates by degree subject with the following findings:

  • Architecture and building graduates - unemployment fell from 10.9% to 9.5% and employment rose from 68% to 73.2%
  • Civil engineering graduates - unemployment decreased from 11.9% to 11.4% and employment increased from 67.7% to 69%
  • Electrical and electronic engineering graduates - unemployment fell 2.1 percentage points to 11.2% and employment rose 5.9 percentage points to 69.6%
  • Mechanical engineering graduates - unemployment went down from 11.8% to 9.3% and employment increased from 65.5% to 70.3%

Charlie Ball, deputy research director at HECSU said: “The employment market for engineers and architects was hit particularly hard by the recession, but the data shows that there are signs of a welcome recovery in their job prospects.

“Despite some difficult recent times, students looking to start engineering and building-related degrees can expect to be in demand once the economy strengthens, as they were before the recession.”

The report also analysed starting salaries with graduates who studied civil engineering, mechanical engineering, and electrical and electronic engineering earning on average £22,819, £23,993 and £21,852 respectively. Architecture and building graduates earned on average £20,527.

What Do Graduates Do? is published in collaboration with the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services and UCAS. The report can be downloaded at