Post-1992 universities, including ex-polytechnics, are better at encouraging entrepreneurship than Russell Group universities, according to new research.
A poll of graduates who left university within the past three years has found that many of them got no advice at all about freelancing or self-employment at university, despite the fact that 56% of those surveyed said they had undertaken some freelancing during their studies and 44% said they were considering freelancing or self-employment as a career option.
According to the findings of the survey by PolicyBee, 38% of post-1992 university graduates said that their university discussed freelancing or being self-employed, but only 11% said the same of Russell Group universities, which include institutions such as Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, Manchester and Bristol.
The study also found that:
- 61% of post-1992 university graduates had undertaken some freelance or self-employed work during their studies compared to 53% of Russell Group graduates;
- 46% of post-1992 university graduates are "definitely" or "probably" considering a career as a freelancer or in self-employment versus 39% at Russell Group institutions.
The research shows that graduates from the West Midlands are most open to the possibility of freelancing or self-employment: more graduates from this area, in comparison to other areas of the UK, worked in this way during their degree (59%) and are more likely to consider it as a future career option.
Kerri-Ann Hockley of PolicyBee said: "The study clearly shows that many graduates have an appetite for self-employment and need to make an informed decision about whether this is the right career choice for them. Universities could do more to encourage and support potential freelancers."
Hockley added: "In the past, self-employment or freelancing were only considered options by more experienced professionals. The latest generation doesn't see this as a barrier. Thanks to the changing job market and developments in technology, graduates can enjoy greater independence. They no longer need to follow conventional routes into employment if it doesn't suit them. However, they could still benefit from more support, and universities have an important role to play in supplying this."