STUDENT LIFE / FEB. 04, 2014
version 5, draft 5

Going to Oxford or Cambridge Does not Guarantee Graduate Employment

students oxford graduates

A new research has revealed that graduating from Britain’s top universities does not necessarily put you in the best position for employment. UK’s leading employers are actually looking beyond Oxford for the best graduates. High Fliers’ report points out that Britain’s top 100 private and public employers targeted more people from the universities of Nottingham or Manchester than they did from either Cambridge or Oxford.  

According to the study, the majority of the UK’s top graduate employers will target students at 18 or fewer universities, with more than a quarter of employers having increased their graduate recruitment budgets for the 2013-2014 recruitment round, the highest proportion for three years. The Association of Graduate Recruiters has predicted a surge of 10.2% in graduate recruitment for 2014.

Law Firm Clifford Chance Adopts ‘CV Blind’ Policy to Reduce Oxbridge Bias

One of the UK’s leading law firms, Clifford Chance has introduced a radical system of recruiting graduates, in order to neutralise any bias towards Oxbridge graduates. The firm adopted a CV blind policy for final interviews with all would-be recruits. Staff conducting the interviews are no longer given any information about which university candidates attended, or whether they come from state or independent schools. They are only able to see the candidate’s name for the final assessment.

In its first year of operation, the scheme has seen its annual intake of 100 graduate trainees come from 41 different education institutions – a rise of nearly 30% on the number represented in the previous year under the old recruitment system. Successful applicants came from universities including Cardiff, Essex, Lancaster, Liverpool and Ulster.

By implementing this practice, the law firm ensures that it attracts the very best people spread out across the entire country in terms of institutions. A senior employee noted: “We’re looking for the gems and they’re not all in the jeweller’s shop”.

Schools Should not be Judged by the Number of Their Students

David Lloyd, headmaster of Solihull – a 1,000-strong selective fee-paying school for seven- to 11-year-olds, said to ‘The Independent’ that “many schools publicised the number of pupils they had got into Oxford or Cambridge in their promotional material, and that this was a question brought up by parents considering sending their children to the school”.

The School’s headmaster added that "Most important is the best fit for the individual academically, socially, financially and geographically… There are lots of super universities out there, and globalisation means that the choice facing young people continues to grow".

On the whole, employers appear to employ people based primarily on merit rather than the educational institution they graduate from. This approach ensures that people who may not have an elitist background and connections - but have real talent and the right soft skills – are equally given the opportunity to thrive in one of the UK’s leading companies.

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