THE prospects for Sunderland university students are among the worst in the country, claims a national survey.
Just 49.6 per cent of graduates from the University of Sunderland get professional jobs or go on to further studies, says The Good University Guide.
The guide, being produced by The Times and Sunday Times later this month, puts Sunderland as the sixth worst.
However, a spokeswoman for the University of Sunderland, said: “Just over 85 per cent of University of Sunderland graduates go into employment or further study within six months of graduating.
“Furthermore, around 75 per cent of computer science students, 89.5 per cent of teacher training students and 100 per cent of pharmacy students, for example, go into graduate-level jobs.
“We have worked extremely hard for many years making sure our students are provided with the opportunity to gain the life skills we know employers expect to see from graduates.
“Our Sunderland Futures programme, which is helping students become even more attractive to employers, is the latest in a long line of developing initiatives.”
She said that North East students were also reluctant to move away from the region to find employment, and that is compounded by a smaller concentration of graduate jobs in the North East compared to the other regions.
But while Sunderland was among the worst areas for graduates getting professional jobs, the guide put Durham University in the top 10, with 82.6 per cent.
A Durham University spokesman said: “Durham is recognised both nationally and internationally as one of the world’s leading universities, acknowledging our strengths of combining innovative research-led teaching with a unique student experience.
“Our college system allows students to lead their own extra-curricular activities in sports, the arts and volunteering and outreach.
“This allows them to develop key skills valued by top employers, such as leadership, critical thinking and entrepreneurship, alongside their academic learning.”
New research commissioned for The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide found that more than half of senior decision-makers in companies which employ graduates said none or few of them are “work ready” when they leave the country’s universities.
The survey also found that for 61 per cent of employers, the most important factor when considering graduates for a job would be the degree course they studied, while just eight per cent chose the university attended, suggesting a university’s reputation might hold less weight with employers than is commonly thought.