A study of nearly 5,000 university students undertaken by Endsleigh Insurance and the National Union for Students has revealed that 87% of working university students do so to develop skills for their CV.

The costs of studying full time at university still play a big part in driving university students out to work whilst studying. Of those surveyed, 56% said that they had underestimated the costs involved in university study. An alarming 14% of students stated that they held down full time jobs, some during term time in order to make ends meet.

This report follows a report earlier in the year by Save the Student, which revealed that of 2,000 university students surveyed, 71% relied on their parents to help them pay for food and rent and 45% used their overdraft to make ends meet. Another survey, conducted by the Higher Education Policy Institute and the Higher Education Academy also revealed that less than half of 15,000 undergraduates asked felt that their university course offered value for money.

The National Union of Students has estimated that the average living cost involved in university study is £12,160 and many of the students surveyed stated that they worked whilst studying in order to cover these costs. However, the majority claimed that working provided the opportunity to develop the skills that employers are looking for. This certainly looks as though even the students who choose to go to university full time aren’t convinced that university study alone will make them employable.

This report fits with a survey of employers, undertaken by Kaplan which indicated many employers felt that some university graduates were arrogant and arrived in the work place with a sense of entitlement, often unwilling to do tasks that they felt were ‘beneath them’. They added that some graduates had expectations that did not match the reality of working or their own level of skill. Many graduates they said “have no work experience and lack key employability skills for all their learning.”

Where employers do employ graduates they do not simply look for a good degree, they also want candidates with core competences. These include communication, which 73% of employers said was key, numeracy skills which 64% named as important and the ability to work well as part of a team, which 61% said was vital to success.