Job applications ‘filtered by university ranking’

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Graduates of 24 top UK universities are more likely to find work soon after graduating than those from other universities, research says.

Four-fifths of Russell Group graduates entered full-time work within weeks of leaving compared with two-thirds of those from other institutions, a survey for graduate recruiter Milkround found.

It said firms used a tick-box system to filter candidates via the league table position of their universities.

Milkround surveyed 1,500 new graduates.

The graduate jobs board has helped students and graduates to connect with leading employers for decades.

‘Fairer recruitment’

It pointed out that some of the best academic universities, such as Aberdeen, St Andrews and Lancaster, did not belong to the prestigious research-focused Russell Group.

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The Russell Group is made up of 24 leading universities: Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Durham, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Imperial College London, King’s College London, Leeds, Liverpool, London School of Economics and Political Science, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Oxford, Queen Mary University of London, Queen’s University Belfast, Sheffield, Southampton, University College London, Warwick and York.

Georgina Brazier, a graduate jobs expert at Milkround, said businesses were missing out on the chance to recruit some “fantastic grads from other universities”.

She also urged employers to take a more balanced approach, rather than taking “tick-box exercises such as filtering candidates by university league tables”.

“While there’s no doubt that many students dream of attending reputationally prestigious universities such as Oxford or Cambridge, most graduates are left with the same level of debt or student loans (and same tuition fees) regardless of what university they attended,” she said.

“The investment students make to attend university and gain their degree is substantial and whilst academic success should be applauded, some graduates feel the return on investment when entering the workplace should be fairer.”

A separate poll of 7,000 students for Milkround found a significant minority wanted recruitment to be carried out “blind” to candidates’ gender, religion and anything that would denote socio-economic background.

A number of high profile firms, such as Deloite, KPMG and the civil service, already use name blind application processes.

In November last year a study from Department for Education and Institute for Fiscal Studies found that women with a degree earn on average 28% more than non-graduate women.

The study also found men with degrees earn an average of 8% more than non-graduates.

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