Wednesday, 30 July 2014
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More than a third of art and design graduates are out of work, report shows

More than a third of art and design graduates are still without a full-time job more than three years after graduation, according to a new report.

Data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency shows that just 65.5 per cent of those who graduated from creative art and design undergraduate and postgraduate courses in 2007 are in full-time employment.

This is below the average figure of 72.3 per cent of 2007 graduates from all courses, who are in full-time work.

The report shows that 12.7 per cent of art and design graduates are in part-time paid work, 0.9 per cent are in voluntary unpaid work, 5.3 per cent are still studying and 6 per cent are unemployed.

Those graduating from creative art and design courses were most likely to be unemployed, the report shows, alongside graduates from computer science and architecture courses.

Readers' comments (8)

  • Totally agree with this, I have been part - time for three years now after graduating in Furniture Design. Ive always had a part-time job in retail and was lucky enough to find a maternity cover job within the college I studied at. This has gave me the opportunity to create more Furniture/Products for my c.v etc. But its impossible to find a job within the job that I graduated in.

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  • What's a full-time job though? A job as a designer is different from at Starbucks. I wonder if this is part of what's being dubbed Generation Limbo: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/01/fashion/recent-college-graduates-wait-for-their-real-careers-to-begin.html?ref=jennifer8lee
    (while the article makes it sound perhaps nicer than it actually is, is suggests people are working part time and trying to keep their dreams alive).
    … and did anyone notice there that computer science grauduates are also in trouble? I thought IT was going to save us all!

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  • A lot of the kids coming out of these schools aren't employable too. Having a degree from an art or design school does not mean you are talented. I graduated with about 25 people in my design class only about 3 people had portfolios that I would consider really good. Maybe 5 or so more had average mediocre portfolios that qualified them to do work that amounts to putting graphics on vehicles at a sign shop. The rest were talentless hacks who supported those of us who were on scholarship with the large fees they were paying.

    Art and Design schools do a terrible job of weeding out people who will most likely never work as a professional designer in the first place.

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  • I graduated in 2004 and there was very minimal support in leading graduates through into the world of work, especially in such a competitive sector.

    My sister graduated in 2010, and still, the same lack of support, or real network for talented students to make their mark.

    As mentioned in one of the other comments, this is an incredibly difficult industry to break into, so more support is needed from University and College level, as well as from the creative industries themselves.

    I have recently started a company to support, showcase, and nurture design graduates in all fields, talented designers need all the help they can get, especially if they are wanting to pursue their own business endeavours, which is where our support is aimed.

    Meeting recent graduates again re-interated the issue, as they have all said they have had minimal support, or guidance with regards to working in the creative sector.

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  • I graduated in 2001, but unfortunately never managed to become the next Philippe Starke as I had dreamed for so many years. While I have managed to become successful in business in part by utilising the transferable skills I gained while studying design (problem solving etc.), it still irks me that so much raw talent is going to waste each year in the UK.

    This is one of the reasons why my new business is Partumis aims to give new designers a chance to showcase their talent to the world, while earning money and seeing their designs brought to life.

    We need to nurture what we have before it’s too late and UK design goes the way of UK manufacturing.

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  • I graduated originally in 1992 with a degree in Printed Textiles into a recession and found it particularly tough to get a job as we were not prepared for the outside world with only 2 weeks of career advice for our futures while at college.

    Luckily I managed to gain both freelance and employment for the next 10 years. However disillusioned by the poor rates of pay I decided to go back to studying and gained a MSC in Clothing Marketing and Distribution and then worked as a Buyer for large Head Offices in Homewares. This was great experience for me and gave me a commercial grounding as well as sound business knowledge.

    I now run my own company producing print led collections for children and really feel that if it was not for my MSC and buying experience I would be able to even contemplate going down this path.

    I am saddened to hear that it is still tough for graduates to gain employment particularly in design areas. I am one of the few who has stuck with design instead of becoming a teacher as most seem to do. It seems a real shame that more is not done to help and guide talented people to find jobs in design.

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  • As a response to Janet's comment from 5 Sept:

    How is calling people "talentless hacks" proving a point? Being an artist or a designer is a decision, a personal journey. And getting a job has not much to do with being arrogant enough to consider oneself one of the most talented people in the class.

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  • Talking as CD I honestly feel it's important to support talent of the future, it's a crying shame so much creative talent is lost to other industries. As such I've regularly offered placements (often paying expenses).
    Given the amount of time myself and the team inevitably invest in such ventures I have been very selective.
    Yet still many lacked basic layout skills, and more frighteningly the passion and desire to learn – is this a culture thing?
    We all know this industry is not for the faint hearted (or the nine to fivers!) and I genuinely believe you'll only succeed if you are both talented and 100% committed.
    I would love the opportunity to support and nurture rising stars
    My question - how do I find them?

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