Unemployment rate of computer grads baffles BCS

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Computer Science graduates top list of job hunters despite demand in the market

Government figures claiming computer science graduates are the least likely of all college leavers to find work has baffled the BCS Chartered Institute for Technology.

Figures from the Higher Education Statistic Agency have revealed that on average 10% of full-time first degree graduates from 2009 were unable to find work, and job hunters in the IT sector fared worse than any other sector.

According to the figures, 17% of computer science graduates remained out of work, the highest percentage for any single subject area, while 14% of communications graduates remained unemployed.

“There has been a downturn and that is obviously effecting the industry, but it's strange because what I am hearing from a great many businesses is that there is a shortage of realy knowledgable computer science people available on the job market,” said Bill Mitchell, director of the BCS Academy of Computing.

“In fact, universities that offer computer science courses find it hard to attract enough students and people are telling me that they can't find computer science graduates here and are hiring from Warsaw or St Petersburg.”

One reason for the anomaly could be that the “Computer Science” element of the HESA research includes several different branches of computing. "People often lump all that together,” said Mitchell and his sentiments were confirmed by a spokesperson from HESA.

“The Computer Science statistics include information systems, artificial intelligence, software engineering and a whole bunch of other related subjects,” a spokesperson said.

If Mitchell is right about computer scientists actually being in demand, it marks a sea change for computer graduates.

In the past, businesses have bemoaned the fact that graduates are not properly prepared for the work place after attending computer-related courses.

“Right now, and this hasn't always been the case, employers are saying they are looking for pure computer science graduates more than those that have done business-related computing courses,” Mitchell said.

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