Employment rates at a high for NCTJ diploma students, new research finds

The vast majority of high-achieving graduates from NCTJ-accredited courses are working in journalism soon after completing their studies, a new report has revealed.

Ninety-three per cent of those with the gold standard diploma (A – C in all subjects and 100wpm shorthand if taken) told researchers they were working six to ten months after finishing their course, with 90 per cent of those working in journalism. This has increased from 86 per cent in 2015.

The independent research, Destinations of NCTJ Diploma in Journalism Students, was commissioned by the NCTJ and aims to assess the impact of investing in an NCTJ-accredited course and performing well in the diploma. It follows the first report, which was published in 2015.

Overall, 86 per cent of all those who studied on an NCTJ-accredited course were in work, an increase from 82 per cent in 2015. This is also higher than the proportion of leavers from higher education courses across all subjects (75 per cent).

Salaries have also seen a boost, with recent NCTJ diploma graduates receiving a median salary of £22,500 up from £17,500 in 2015. It is now slightly higher than the comparable level for all HE graduates. The median salary for NCTJ graduates from 2015 has now increased to £27,500.

Of those in work who graduated in 2018, 27 per cent were working in newspapers, compared to 30 per cent in 2015. Fifteen per cent were working in magazines, four per cent in television, four per cent in radio and thirteen per cent in the online/digital sector. Thirty-two per cent were working in other sectors of the economy, which compares to 35 per cent in 2015.

The majority of recent NCTJ students (81 per cent) believe the Diploma in Journalism prepared them well for employment, including those not working in journalism related jobs. This figure rises to 92 per cent for those who attained the gold standard.

Joanne Butcher, chief executive of the NCTJ, said: “Employability is one of the most important barometers of NCTJ accreditation. We’re conscious we set a very exacting standard which is challenging and rewarding.

“We are delighted those who completed the Diploma in Journalism, and particularly those who achieved the gold standard, have such a fantastic record for getting the journalism jobs they’ve worked so hard for.”

The findings will be discussed at the NCTJ’s Journalism Skills Conference, taking place at the University of Sunderland on 28 and 29 November.

The research is based on two surveys. The first was of those who graduated from an NCTJ-accredited course in 2018, who were contacted within 6 – 10 months of completing their studies. The second survey was of individuals who participated in the first research report in 2015, who were contacted some three years after they completed their studies.

Click here to read the full report.

Destinations of NCTJ Diploma in Journalism students 2019 is authored by Mark Spilsbury, research consultant for the NCTJ, who also compiled the 2015 report.