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IT skills provide best career opportunities


A new survey carried out for the DTI and Engineering Council (UK) by Collective Enterprises Ltd (CEL), shows that information technology, electronics and communications (ITEC) graduates have high employment and pay levels and the best career opportunities compared to other graduates as a whole. It also reveals that women do better when
choosing ITEC careers.

The survey looked at the experiences of computer science and engineering graduates entering the labour market six months and three years after graduation. Its results showed that, despite the downturn in the communications and IT industry, ITEC graduates were performing strongly in comparison to other graduates.

Key findings
- after six months 75% of engineers and 86% of electronic engineers were in permanent employment, compared with 65% of all graduates
- after six months average earnings for engineers was #18k, electronic engineers #20k and computer scientists #17k, compared with #15k for all graduates
- students who took Engineering Council (UK) accredited degrees faired better than their peers, with average salaries of #18k compared to #16.7k
- after three years graduates in an ITEC role earned #25k as opposed to #20k for all other graduates
- After three years 83% of engineers and 86% of computer scientists were in a job related to their education and training compared with 74% for all graduates.

The study also showed that ITEC graduates had better career
opportunities compared to other graduates. Nearly half of engineers and electronic engineers were in a graduate training scheme after six months, compared to just 19% of the rest in employment. Around 50% of ITEC and engineering graduates had received general business skills training, compared to 38% of all graduates surveyed.

The results of higher average pay levels and greater skills
development opportunities were reflected in the higher retention rates experienced by ITEC graduates. After three years 56% of engineers and 49% of ITEC graduates had worked for only one organisation compared to 43% of the rest of graduates. 84% of ITEC graduates and engineers planned to stay in their chosen careers compared to 79% of other graduates.

The survey also revealed that women were offered greater rewards and better opportunities when choosing IT, engineering and communications careers. After six months female graduate engineers and computer scientists were earning #17k compared to #14,500 by other graduates.
After three years ITEC female graduates earned #22,700 compared to #18,500 by all other graduates.

Female ITEC graduates are doing better in closing the pay gap with their male counter parts. The survey showed that:
- after six months, male computer scientists earned only 1% more than female graduates, compared with a difference of 3% amongst all graduates
- after three years amongst all graduates, men earned 20% more than women, but amongst engineering graduates the pay difference was only 10%.


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