Sign in | Join AGCAS

University careers services taking data-driven approach to support students’ social mobility in a buoyant graduate labour market

Heads of higher education careers services have indicated continuing confidence in the graduate labour market and a strong commitment to social mobility in the annual AGCAS Graduate Labour Market Survey.   

Social mobility

The survey shows the increasingly important role of higher education careers services in relation to social mobility. Nearly three quarters of careers services are now running targeted initiatives for widening participation students. Over two thirds of heads observed an increase in students’ engagement with these initiatives. Data driven, evidence-based approaches are helping universities to better understand their students’ career readiness and to target resources and activities accordingly. This can help all students and be particularly useful in enhancing engagement with and provision for disadvantaged groups.  


Over three quarters of careers services now manage placement and internship initiatives to help students gain work experience. Again, these included specific schemes supporting the social mobility agenda, providing students with opportunities to develop social capital and employer networks, which they might not otherwise acquire.Heads also observed that more first and second year students were attending careers fairs for placements and internships.   


Heads of AGCAS member services reported confidence in the graduate labour market, believing there’s an optimistic outlook for graduate career opportunities in the UK. These are data driven observations based around vacancies and on-campus employer engagement, which when put together help to build up a strong picture of the current graduate labour market. 

Similar to heads’ observations in the previous year’s survey, vacancies within IT and STEM increased, whilst vacancies within the public, legal and finance sectors declined. 

Recruiters and employers are once again increasing engagement with careers services. Heads reported an increased interest from employers in holding bespoke recruitment activities coupled with an increase in employers proactively contacting careers services. High impact awards have further encouraged employers to contact universities to source the best talent. 

The continuing trend towards engagement with small and medium-sized enterprises is evident from the survey and is reflective of a more diverse labour market. This is helping smaller firms to recruit, fuelling the number of internships and placements available to students and has, in turn, helped more graduates enter professional-level jobs. 

Dr Bob Gilworth, AGCAS Director of Research and Knowledge and Director of The Careers Group, University of London commented:

“Based on their front-line experience and on increased use of data, Heads of higher education careers services report increased engagement by students and employers and ever more sophisticated targeting of interventions. In particular, the survey shows higher education careers services playing a significant role in relation to social mobility, turning “getting in” (to University) into “getting on” (in the graduate jobs market).”

If items are locked please check that you are registered and signed in to ensure that you can see all parts of the site to which you have been given access.

Tags: University employer AGCAS

Created on: 03 January 2018

Last updated: 05 January 2018

Share this with

All Articles

Related communities

Quick Text Search

Tag Search

© Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services 2018