Job market for Masters graduates

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The labour market for Masters graduates took longer to recover from the recession than for first degree graduates, reports new research published today in Prospects' Graduate Market Trends (GMT)

The research examines how 42,320 Masters graduates fared in January 2015 - six months after leaving university. It shows that their job prospects improved significantly for the first time since the recession.

The early unemployment rate fell almost two percentage points from 9.4% in January 2014 to 7.5% in 2015. In 2013 it was at a similar level to 2014 at 9.5%.

A high proportion (87%) of Masters graduates were also in professional level employment, particularly when compared to their first degree counterparts (68%). Part-time Masters graduates particularly benefited with 93% working at a professional level.

In contrast, the labour market for first degree graduates improved a year earlier with the early unemployment rate dropping from 8.5% in January 2013 to 7.3% in 2014, the rate fell again in 2015 to levels last seen before the recession (6.3%).

Charlie Ball, head of higher education intelligence at Prospects said, 'The data suggests that the prospects for Masters graduates may have started to improve a little later than for first degree graduates, but also offers hope that we may see a further fall in the unemployment rate over the next 12 months.

'Outcomes for Masters graduates who studied full time and part time varied. Part-time Masters graduates are more likely to have an existing employment history, and many return to previous employers on graduation. As a result they saw a modest fall in the unemployment rate last year, but outcomes were already generally favourable and merely improved once the UK came out of recession.'