‘Saddened.’ ‘Disappointed.’ ‘Shocked.’ These seemed to be some of the recurring comments among many students surveyed by TARGETjobs a few hours after the announcement came that the UK was to leave the EU.
The day before the referendum, the graduate careers site took an initial poll of over 7,000 UK students to determine whether they planned on voting to leave or remain in the European Union. Over 80% of students surveyed said that they would vote to remain, given the strength the UK has as part of the EU, as well as closer issues to their hearts, including major concerns on the effect leaving could have on their future careers. In a post-referendum follow-up survey, 91% of the student ‘Remainers’ said that they believed securing work will now be more difficult.
Of course, not all students voted to remain, and the survey reflected a considerably more optimistic outlook from those who voted to leave the EU. For example, 86% of student ‘Leavers’ were not concerned about the difficulty of finding work now that the UK is set to leave.
The Leave students were also significantly more positive that many things related to higher education (such as European study options and provision of research grants) would remain minimally affected, unlike their Remain counterparts who expressed major concerns about the future of their academic lives. Many Leave students also conceded in the survey comments that education issues may be temporarily affected, but it was necessary to combat wider issues, such as better regulation of immigration, the ability to control our own laws, and stronger sovereignty.
Not all opinions were in discord. Both the Remain and Leave student camps were in agreement about two major factors: a combined 91% felt that Brexit campaigners had insufficiently investigated the impact on education and 57% thought that that their university did not provide adequate information on the impact of a British exit from the EU.
‘Despite the differing stances on the referendum, it was encouraging to see that 99% of students surveyed had registered to vote’, said Chloe Burgess, director, GTI Media.
‘It’s inevitable that opinions would be divided among the student body, but they all shared a common interest in playing an active part in their country’s future. This political inclination will no doubt be further expressed in the coming months, as university and careers issues are increasingly brought to light post-Brexit, and we look forward to hearing what the UK’s students have to say’.
The combined results (both Leave and Remain) of the student poll are below. For separate Leave/Remain statistics, please see the infographic at http://gtimedia.co.uk/expertise/pr/campus-divided-uk-students-express-post-referendum-opinions-education-and-careers
1. Do you believe securing work after university will now be more difficult?
Yes 82% No 18%
2. Do you believe Brexit campaigners have sufficiently investigated the impact on students and young people’s education?
Yes 9% No 91%
3. Do you expect a reduction of international study and career opportunities as a result of Brexit?
Yes 88% No 12%
4. Do you believe UK universities will still operate alongside the EU to the same extent?
Yes 26% No 74%
5.Do you believe that your university provided the student body with sufficient information on the consequences of the EU referendum?
Yes 43% No 57%
6. Are you worried about the effect the Brexit will have on research funding in the UK?
Yes 84% No 16%