Thursday, 28 June 2012

Graduate destinations 2010/11

It's annual destinations data day, where we look at what had happened to last years' graduates six months after they left university.

As expected, the outcomes seem somewhere between the depths of the recession in 2009, and the modest recovery of 2010, with things having fallen back in 2011 and this survey taking place in what we now know to be another (possibly ongoing) recession.

HESA separates out all full time and all part time graduates, and their data release is here

We combine them. So, the unemployment rate for all first degree graduates  was 8.6%, against 8.5% for 2009/10 graduates and 8.9% the year before.

But the employment rate also went up from 69.7% to 70.2%, as the proportion of graduates entering further study fell. A record number of graduates are known to have been employed six months after graduation - 166,280 - and there seems to be about 4,000 more graduates in graduate-level employment than in the year before. However, we can also see all areas of public sector employment - health, education and social care - fell last year, whilst private sector roles from marketing and PR to science R&D, saw increased graduate recruitment.

Subjects with improved outcomes are the physical sciences, engineering (mostly) architecture and civil engineering (finally), IT and the media. Subjects having a hard time include biology and economics. The data's only been out 3 hours, so not had a chance to have a deeper look, but it also looks like the outcomes slightly worsened for Masters, although not by much, and for PhD - which means for PG, essentially, the last recession didn't really end.

There's lots of information to process and look through, so there'll doubtless be more to say.

But, the key message is that, yet again, even in another recession, a record number of graduates got jobs. Let's hope we can say that again next year.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

How We Used To Live (slight return)

Ah, DLHE day tomorrow, can't wait.

I'm amusing myself at the moment by, looking at a splendid publication called 'First Employment Of University Graduates 1961-1962', or, in other words, 49-year old graduate destination information.

There's a page for male engineers 'or applied scientists', but not one for women, because only 72 women got degrees across the whole field. Men graduates get a special category for 'Training for Ordination', whilst women graduates get one for 'Secretarial Training'. Fortunately, things have now moved on.

Here are the types of employment for UK graduates from 1961-62.



Home Civil Service

4.3% 6.9%

Overseas Public Service

0.5% 0.6%

Armed Services

1.2% 0.4%

Local Government and Hospitals

5.7% 14.4%


0.8% 0.2%


10.6% 39.4%

Technical Colleges

1.7% 2.2%


1.9% 4.9%

Agriculture and Forestry

1.0% 0.4%

Oil and Chemicals

9.1% 5.1%


27.8% 5.7%

Other Manufacturing

6.9% 2.3%


6.0% 0.3%

Public Utilities

4.7% 1.4%


8.8% 7.0%


4.3% 1.5%


1.4% 2.3%

Miscellaneous Cultural

1.4% 1.2%


1.9% 3.9%

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say I think this year's data will look a little different. But it's interesting to see how things have changed in the span of just over a working life.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Talking Season

Here at HECSU, this time of year tends to be one where we go out and give lots of talks and presentations, particularly in schools and colleges.  Shortly, we'll be temporarily setting that aside as we get the 2010/11 destination data and stay in doing interesting things with it. Then, it's back on the road around the start of university terms to give more talks about the graduate jobs market, past, present and future.

I always enjoy getting out and talking to people. As well as being a very effective way to disseminate effectively, it is a great opportunity to get around and hear from people who are interested in research evidence and to gather information about how people are experiencing the economy and jobs market. That's especially important now with so much uncertainty around. We're gearing up to a good deal of media interest in the Class of 2012 (I know, I've spoken to quite a few journalists of late), but it's worth remembering that someone graduating this summer will almost certainly have a working life of at least 45 years, and that they'll be working into the second half of this century.

45 years is a long time. 45 years ago, the most recent winners of the World Cup were England. 45 years ago, the Apollo Program had yet to send astronauts into orbit around the moon, let alone walk on it. Apple and Microsoft didn't yet exist.  

Yes, by the time the Class of 2012 retire, it'll be nearly a century since England last won the World Cup. 

We need good quality information and guidance so that the Class of 2012 can make sense, not just of the current jobs market, but be prepared for the jobs market of 2017 and 2022 and further on, in all its unpredictable, changeable, diverse forms. Many of them will soon be working in jobs we don't have names for, in industries that don't currently exist using technology that has yet to be invented, and it's our job to help them do that. Of course, it's not a straightforward job to work out what graduates will need to know now, that will help them in 30 years time, but we can look back on the pace of technological change and brace them to prepare for the unexpected.

When I look back on how the workplace and technology has changed since I graduated 20 years ago (20 years!), I can only imagine what might be coming for this year's graduates in their working lives. First, of course, we have to help them in the here and now, and with a tricky - but not impossible - labour market now well into 4 years of downturn, it's important that we help them steer their way through this current period of difficulty, not knowing how long it will last, how it will change and whether there are further shocks to come. We don't know what the rest of 2012 will bring, but we need to keep an eye on the longer term as well.