UK IT Graduates Less Employable Than Art & Science Majors?

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ComputerWeekly recently ran a story on the UK's Higher Education Statistics Agency survey showing that 10% of UK IT graduates were still unemployed several months after graduation. In comparison, 8% of graduates of creative arts and communications were unemployed. The average level of unemployment among all graduates of the academic year 2006-07 was 6%.

The ComputerWorld story speculates that the reason for the higher unemployment rate is that IT graduates are not learning the right business skills, even though demand for IT graduates is said to be high in the UK.

The story quotes Richard Brown, chief executive of the Council for Industry and Higher Education, who says that, "Businesses have off-shored a lot of technical work, so are looking now for higher level skills like project management and customer interfacing skills."

Hmm, businesses want graduates with project management competencies. Exactly how do they get that "skill"? By taking a university class or two?

I may be an old fogy, but I don't think there are too many university graduates, no matter how well trained, who can successfully leap into an IT project manager position without having first gained experience as a member of the technical staff on an IT project (or three). At least I haven't met one yet.

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