Ethnic minority graduates five times more likely to feel job disadvantage than white counterparts

October, 2023

Many graduates feel their ethnic background, social class or gender are holding them back in the jobs market, reveals new research by Prospects at Jisc

The survey by Prospects, which runs the UK's largest graduate careers website, is based on responses from 2,000 graduates. It asked graduates how prepared they were for work and whether they felt they had any disadvantage when applying for jobs.

It found that 43% of ethnic minority graduates felt they were disadvantaged in the job application process compared to just 8% of white graduates. African, Caribbean, or Black British respondents (51%) and Asian or Asian British respondents (49%) were most likely to say this.

Female graduates were more than twice as likely (10%) than their male counterparts (4%) to say they were disadvantaged due to their gender when applying for jobs. They were also more likely to say they were unprepared for work (32%) than male graduates (25%).

Meanwhile a fifth of graduates said they were set back because of their social class. Respondents whose parents didn't go to university were more likely to say they felt disadvantaged (24%) than those with parents who had attended university (15%).

While the survey found 13% of people with a disability or health condition and 14% who identify as neurodivergent felt disadvantage, there were fewer reports of people feeling hindered because of their sexual orientation (5%).

Prospects also found that people with a disability felt less prepared for work (42%) than those without (26%). Neurodiverse graduates were also more likely to feel unprepared (36%) than those who identify as neurotypical (27%). 

Chris Rea, a graduate careers expert at Prospects for Jisc commented, 'It's clear that many graduates feel the jobs market is stacked against them and this could negatively affect their motivation to apply for jobs as well as the type of roles they go for.'

'While students may not think the job application process is fair, that doesn't necessarily mean it isn't. Employers need to hire more diverse candidates, and many are aware the impact the hiring process can have. These findings show how important it is to review application processes to ensure that they are transparent and accessible to all.'

Media enquiries

Clare Tregaskis, Prospects and Jisc Student Services,, 07792 429227.

About Prospects Early Careers Survey 2023

Students and graduates were surveyed during February and March 2023 to find out about their career plans for 2023 and their experiences over the previous 12 months. The analysis in this press release was undertaken in September 2023 and based on 1,998 graduate responses. Additional findings from the survey were reported in Prospects Early Careers Survey 2023.

About Prospects

Prospects has worked at the heart of higher education for more than 50 years. Part of Jisc Student Services, the directorate collaborates with government, universities and employers to improve student and graduate career outcomes through information, guidance and opportunities. It includes, which is visited by 2.1 million students and graduates each month, Prospects Luminate and the UK's official postgraduate course database. Jisc Student Services also manages Prospects Hedd degree verification and fraud services.

About Jisc 

Jisc's vision is for the UK to be a world leader in technology for education and research. It owns and operates the super-fast national research and education network, Janet, with built-in cyber security protection.  Jisc also provides technology solutions for members (colleges, universities and research centres) and customers (public sector bodies), helps members save time and money by negotiating sector-wide deals and provides advice and practical assistance on digital technology. Jisc is funded by the UK higher and further education and research funding bodies and member institutions. 

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