The number of UK graduates opting for a career in IT is creeping up slowly, but the profession is not attracting students in anything like the numbers it used to.
According to the UK Graduates Career Survey 2011, conducted by recruitment firm High Fliers, just 3.9 per cent of final year students applied for IT-related positions. That’s a small increase on the previous year, when just 3.5 per cent did so.
Back in 2001, nearly one in 10 final year undergraduates were entering IT.
These days, bright young things are heading for jobs with investment banks or staying in further education, the High Fliers survey reported.
Today’s students are planning their future careers at the early stages of their undergraduate education, said Martin Birchall, managing director of High Fliers.
“A record number of students have made job hunting a key priority during their studies and started researching their career options in the first or second year of their degree, rather than leaving their job search until their final 12 months,” he said.
The implication for UK IT is clear: if the brightest youngsters are to be attracted into the profession, they need to be won over at an early stage – perhaps even before entering university.
The slight increase in the number of final-year students applying for jobs in IT is in stark contrast to the potential openings.
In 2010, the number of IT graduate vacancies rose by almost 80 per cent, according to specialist IT recruitment consultancy IntaPeople.
The High Fliers survey was based on nearly 18,000 face-to-face interviews with final year students from 30 of the UK’s universities.