The latest Ucas figures show that a quarter of school leavers received a “conditional unconditional” offer in 2019, compared with one in five last year.
The statistics show that several universities rely heavily on unconditional offers – which offer a place before students sit their final exams – in the increasingly cut-throat competition for undergraduates.
What are the reasons for this increased competition?
There are multiple sources of evidence showing that employers now favour relevant apprenticeships or experience over university degrees. Our research earlier this year showed that employers are 7 times more likely to drop graduate programmes in favour of degree apprenticeship equivalents. A study carried out by AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) ahead of A-level results day on Thursday 16 August reported that their employers prioritise candidates who have relevant experience from an apprenticeship or previous job. 62 % said it indicates they have a better understanding of the world of work.
What does this mean for employers?
1) you should have a degree apprenticeships element in your early careers strategy
2) A level results may be lower with the students, not reflecting their ability, but that they simply don't need to get the results
3) You will need a strong employer brand and value proposition to convince these young people to work for you instead of university life
The proportion of university applicants being offered a place on a degree course regardless of their exam grades has risen to nearly two in five despite a government crackdown on the practice.