Milkround, ‘the UK’s leading school leaver, student and graduate website’ have conducted research identifying key trends in graduate career paths. Uzochi Ejimofor reports.


42% of graduates said money was the main influence when deciding which industry to work in.

The survey consisted of 2,597 candidates who graduated in 2014 and 2015. 64% were females and 36% were males. Over half of those surveyed were under the age of 24, whilst 45% were aged 24 or over. It ran from 17 September 2023 to the 30 September 2015.

The survey aimed to understand why those who have studied a certain degree sometimes pursue a career in a completely different industry and why a skills gap may exist in certain industries. They also looked at how graduates search for jobs and why they may turn down job offers.

This research came about as a response to the concerns amongst graduate recruiters about a skills shortage in certain industries particularly in the STEM related sectors.

What lies in store for these graduates? | AKS.9955, Wikimedia

Money Key Influencer

42% of graduates said money was the main influence when deciding which industry to work in. Low salary was also a key reason why graduates would decline job offers, along with receiving a better offer. Other reasons for declining job offers were due to an unwillingness to relocate, the job offer was in the wrong sector, or because the graduate wanted a different challenge.

Sales was the industry candidates least expected to join, although 8% went on to work in sales. Most candidates expected to work in the industries directly related to their degree.

A lack of preparation

50% of respondents stated they expected to gain job interview preparation skills at university but only 36% felt that they had gained this. Interestingly, a low number of candidates expected to gain skills such as business etiquette and commercial awareness at university.

76% of the candidates were in full time employment and 12% were in part time employment. 12% were unemployed and were either job hunting, volunteering or undertaking further academia.

Out of the employed candidates, 33% found their job on the company’s website, 19% used a personal contact, 15% through generic job websites, whilst only 3% found a job on social media sites such as LinkedIn.

Not the place for graduates to start a career? | LinkedIn, WIkimedia


The most popular industries candidates are working in include: retail, buying and merchandise (11%), education and training (9%), public sector (8%), accounting and finance (8%), medical and pharmaceutical (7%) and IT & telecommunications (6%).

However, the most popular roles hoped for were: Marketing and PR (11%), Media and Publishing (10%) and public sector (8%).


The survey went on to focus on graduates who did an Engineering degree, Law degree, Business and Management degree, or Psychology degree. Some interesting statistics about internships were found.

Internships have come under scrutiny recently | Joel Gillman, Flickr

Out of the 42% of engineering students that did an internship only 39% were offered a job with the same company. Only 11% of law students out of 32% were offered a job compared to 22% out of 23% of psychology students. 38% of business and management students did an internship and 36% were offered a job. More business and management students completed internships in a variety of sectors compared to law and engineering students who mostly stuck to the law and engineering sectors.

What Milkround had to say:

In relation to the shockingly low number of jobs offered to law students, Milkround speculated that this is “indicative of either a too broad application process or the highly competitive nature of the legal industry”. They said “it would be interesting to explore in more detail why graduate job offers are relatively low across the board, as this may be a contributing factor to a change in respondents’ career directions”.

Milkround concluded the survey by saying

“It is clear from the research, though not unsurprising, that the path from degree to career is not clear cut. Studying for a degree in law does not guarantee a career in a law firm, and conversely a degree in psychology does not rule you out for a career in accounting and finance. Our key findings indicate that a wide range of opportunities across different industries is leading graduates to be more selective of job offers, with previous experience in a company not being as powerful an indicator of a graduate’s future career as first thought.”