The graduate employment situation continues to improve across the UK, according to latest CSP figures.
The Society has produced a ‘best estimate’ analysis, the fullest so far, showing what has happened to students who graduated in 2006 and 2007 in the four countries. The news comes as health minister Ann Keen recognised the work unions and employers had done in this area and pledged to encourage health authorities to keep the issue high up the agenda. Across the UK as a whole, 61 per cent of graduates now have permanent work in the health service and a further 18 per cent are working on short term or bank contracts. The figures show that 42 per cent of 2007 graduates (1,055 people) and 19 per cent of 2006 graduates (449 people) have still not found their first permanent physiotherapy post. In total, eight per cent (430) are either not currently looking for work as a physiotherapist, or have stopped looking altogether. Overall, 13 per cent of UK graduates (624 people) are still looking for their first junior physio post of any kind. Kate Moran, CSP head of employment research, said the picture overall was an improvement compared with five months ago. This was down to CSP campaigning and the positive initiatives being taken within strategic health authority areas in England and their equivalents elsewhere, she believed. She told Frontline: ‘The situation appears to be changing rapidly and improving, but it is too soon to know whether this is a confirmed trend. ‘It is not clear how many of the current short-term and bank contracts may translate into permanent posts, and many graduates have only been able to find their first post after more than six months of applying for jobs.’ The findings drew on established CSP data and new telephone surveys carried out in March and April of people who had not been tracked previously. Around a further 2,500 physiotherapists are due to graduate in the UK this year. At last week’s meeting of the English Social Partnership Forum, which is made up of the Department of Health, unions and NHS Employers, Ms Keen said she would encourage strategic health authorities to review their arrangements for supporting allied health professionals to continue both the SHA work on graduate employment and also wider work, linked to Lord Darzi’s review of the health service. Here, the minister agreed, AHP leadership at strategic level was vital. DH officials also said they would consider incorporating action on physiotherapy graduate employment into their performance agreements with health authorities. Ms Keen’s commitment came as a direct response to a request from CSP director of employment relations Lesley Mercer. Wales has the highest proportion of graduates to have found permanent physio posts (77 per cent) with a further 10 per cent in short-term or bank jobs. Sixty-two per cent of graduates from English universities have now found permanent work in the health service. A further 17 per cent are working on short-term/ bank contracts. In Scotland, 58 per cent of graduates have found permanent posts with 27 per cent in short-term/bank positions. In Northern Ireland 37 per cent of the 2006 and 2007 cohorts have found permanent work, with a further 28 per cent in short-term jobs.
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