Scotland currently faces an unemployment rate of around 8%, this slightly above the UK average. During times of such high unemployment the future for Scottish graduates entering the Scottish labour market becomes uncertain. Despite the unemployment rate in Scotland being above the UK average, a 2008 report by the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU) in Scotland noted that the percentage of Scotland’s population qualified was above the UK average and that in 2007 37% of the working population had qualifications in the form of postgraduates, degrees, HNDS, etc.
So, with more and more students graduating in Scotland what does the Scottish labour market have to offer them? Well firstly, the report by HECSU also mentions the fact that Scotland retains a large number of its graduates, in fact in 2006 over 82% of graduates stayed in Scotland. So with high numbers of Scottish graduates staying in the country to live and work after graduation, there is of course an increased demand for higher skilled jobs. In reflection of this it is therefore positive that it can be reported that employment growth will continue to be the strongest in jobs that require higher levels of skills and qualifications. There will therefore be an increase in the availability of the jobs that graduates are seeking.
Therefore, despite the levels of unemployment in Scotland, the outlook for graduates is looking positive. The continual growth of jobs requiring high skills and qualifications will mean that more and more jobs will become available to graduates in the future and the high retention of graduates within Scotland after graduation will of course have a positive effect on the Scottish economy.