Music college achieves 100% employability

Music college achieves 100% employability


norman lebrecht

August 02, 2016

The Royal Northern College of Music, in Manchester, has placed every last one of its students in work or further study.

That’s some achievement.



  • Observer says:

    The link doesn’t work, Norman. In reading it elsewhere, I see that it says:

    “The outstanding result indicates that the College’s 2014/15 graduates are either working or undertaking further study six months after graduation”.

    What exactly are the alternatives? Most music school grads fall into this catagory. They could be working as waiters, they could be studying philosophy. They could be doing this for 2 hrs. a week. This is an absurd statement based on exceptionally vague stats.

  • Robert Holmén says:

    They’ll need to provide more details on what the “work” is and how many are in “further study” for that to be impressive.

  • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

    100% ? The devil is always in the details and one year does not make a trend. I note the use of the word “leavers” and not graduates which implies that the stats include students who departed without a degree, I believe.

    In my previous life at a conservatory, I always answered parents questions in this rather general way:

    After the Bachelor of Music, about 95% of the graduates remain in music either by continuing their education at the graduate level (Masters or Advanced Diploma) or as working professional performing musicians. The breakdown of that figure is usually heaving weighted toward continuing education (on average 70% in school, 30% working professionally, full or part-time, in music performance).

    5 years after leaving school, 85-90% fall into one of these categories with a shift weighted toward professional activities. At the 10 year mark about 80% of the graduates are still earning a significant part of their income from music performance and/or related activities (teaching, research, musical technology, etc). That 80% figure appears to hold firm even at the 20 year mark with virtually all graduates working in some way in music (not always “classical”).

    These figures are based on surveys and anecdotal information applicable to the school (Curtis) where I worked for 28 years (23 as dean). Although I retired in 2009, i believe the general trend is similar at the most selective conservatories in the USA. I can not comment on similar trends in the UK.

  • Una says:

    Exactly, Robert, you can’t compare trends in the US with UK. The whole culture of the US is so different and an ethos of self-promotion that they are very good at and we are not!

    RNCM is my old college … have my doubts about this work achievement when there have never been more students going to music college here and so much less work to find afterwards, unless you work in a restaurant as a waiter or similar for the minimum wage.

  • Raymond Clarke says:

    The RNCM is my old college too. It’s unlikely that the college itself “has placed” all of its students in employment, so it should not be attempting to take the credit for the placements, many of which will have been at the students’ own initiative.

    Similar surveys are taken at all UK universities and conservatoires, and the results are meaningless. Sometimes the “employment” is no more than some part-time instrumental teaching given at home and supplemented by call centre work or benefits. I agree with Una about the disparity between the unrealistic number of entrants to UK conservatoires and the amount of worthwhile work available to them when they finish their studies.

  • Gary says:

    Short order chefs are excluded from the survey. It has to be a professional or post graduate musical occupation.

  • NYMike says:

    Curtis is in a class by itself, having a new student rejection rate higher than Harvard’s or any other school in the US. Since it turns out the cream of the cream, it’s small wonder that a huge percentage of its graduates actually work in the field of music.

  • Alvaro says:

    I heard there’s been a surge in hiring in McDonalds and Starbucks in Northern england.


    • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

      Thank you for the opportunity to dust off an old saw:

      What did a Curtis student say to a Juilliard student when they met for the first time at McDonalds?

      “Would you like fries with that” So sorry, I couldn’t resist.

  • G Ellis says:

    This is probably on the back of the same dubious survey my alma mater forced me to do a few months ago following my graduation-
    They asked us to class ourselves as ‘self-employed’ even if we were merely practising our instruments and preparing for auditions. It has nothing to do with actually earning a living, let alone having a job.

    A waste of time, one big vanity project for the colleges.