In a recent survey conducted by Prospects at Jisc, the UK’s largest graduate careers website, concerning the experiences of 2,000 graduates in the job market, concerning findings have emerged.
The research reveals that a significant proportion of graduates feel that their ethnic background, social class, or gender pose obstacles in their pursuit of employment opportunities.
The study delved into graduates’ perceptions of their readiness for work and whether they believed they faced any disadvantages during the job application process.
Shockingly, 43 percent of ethnic minority graduates reported feeling disadvantaged during job applications, a stark contrast to just 8 percent of their white counterparts.
Among ethnic minority groups, respondents of African, Caribbean, or Black British descent were particularly affected, with 51 percent expressing a sense of disadvantage, followed closely by Asian or Asian British graduates at 49 percent.
What about gender-related issues?
Also, the research unveiled that female graduates faced gender-related hurdles, with 10 percent feeling disadvantaged due to their gender compared to a mere 4 percent of male graduates. Female graduates were also more likely to indicate unpreparedness for work, with 32 percent expressing such concerns, whereas male graduates registered at 25 percent.
Social class was another factor of concern, with 20 percent of graduates citing it as a hindrance to their job prospects. Notably, respondents whose parents did not have a university education were more likely to feel disadvantaged (24%) than those whose parents had attended university (15%).
While the survey highlighted that 13 percent of respondents with disabilities or health conditions and 14 percent who identified as neurodivergent felt disadvantaged, there were fewer reports of individuals feeling hindered due to their sexual orientation, with only 5 percent expressing such concerns.
Disparities in perceived readiness for work,
The research also illuminated disparities in perceived readiness for work, with 42 percent of graduates with disabilities or health conditions feeling unprepared, compared to 26 percent of their peers without such conditions. Neurodiverse graduates also reported feeling less prepared (36%) than those who identified as neurotypical (27%).
Chris Rea, a graduate careers expert at Prospects at Jisc, commented on the findings, stating, “It’s clear that many graduates feel the jobs market is stacked against them, and this could negatively affect their motivation to apply for jobs as well as the type of roles they go for. While students may not think the job application process is fair, that doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t. Employers need to hire more diverse candidates, and many are aware of the impact the hiring process can have. These findings show how important it is to review application processes to ensure that they are transparent and accessible to all.”
Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.