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Unemployment falls for IT graduates

First decline since the start of the recession

The unemployment rate for IT graduates in the UK has fallen for the first time since the start of the recession, according to research from the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU).

IT graduates found jobs in a range of organisations, including Google, Microsoft, Accenture, Unilever, BSkyB, Credit Suisse, BAE Systems, GCHQ, the NHS and Lloyds TSB Banking Group.

According to the annual survey of IT graduates six months after leaving university in 2010, the proportion believed to be unemployed was 14.2 percent, down from 16.3 percent of 2009 graduates.

Some 8,845 IT graduates responded to the survey, which also found a 4.2 percent increase in the proportion of IT graduates who were in employment, to 68.6 percent.

In addition, the number of graduates employed directly as IT professionals had risen, from 38.9 percent to 44.2 percent.

Most of these graduates were software designers and engineers (14.4 percent), programmers and computer analysts (7.4 percent) or web developers and producers (5.8 percent).

Meanwhile, fewer IT graduates are going on to further study. The proportion that does has fallen from 11.3 percent to 9.5 percent.

These graduates are studying a range of Masters and PhD degrees, including computer science, management, computer games technology, computer security and resilience, e-business and financial systems engineering. Non-IT degrees are also pursued, such as law and international human resource management.

"The jobs market for graduates in IT and computing degrees is improving, and the unemployment rate is coming down.

"It's also encouraging to see many graduates in the sector going to work for small and medium-sized businesses - often very exciting and dynamic places to start your new careers," said Charlie Ball, deputy research director at HECSU.

He added: "Graduates in computing and IT are also more likely than most to start their own business and this enterprising streak is good for their careers and good for the economy."

However, the gender gap is still significant, as nearly a fifth (17.4 percent) of IT graduates surveyed were female (1,540 out of 8,845).

The government recently announced plans to recruit 5,000 business mentors to help boost the number of female entrepreneurs in the UK, to aid the recovery of the economy.

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