Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Where are all the science jobs?

Elizabeth on the Manchester Careers Blog has written this piece promoting the Manchester Engineering, Science and Technology Fair tomorrow.

Being both nerdy and slightly mischievous, I've taken the question at face value and produced this.

It's a breakdown of the top locations in the country where last year's PhD graduates were known to be working in science jobs (so not as researchers, and so this won't cover a lot of postdocs) after six months. You can have fun playing 'match the university to the local authority', although I'll go out on a limb and suggest the top two are quite easy.

(Other Greater London is not in the graph is the region is too broad - it comes in at Number 4).
Surrey, by the way, is largely private sector.

I wouldn't take this too seriously, but it does give you a clue about where in the country you might need to move to if you have a doctorate and want to enter science - and focus the mind if your city or region is not on that list.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Movement of graduates

As a follow-on to the last post I've been toying with a way to show graduate migration - a particular research interest of mine.

I've never been very happy with graphical depictions, although I've done it before in Graduate Market Trends.

Now, this graph takes some explaining.This is an examination of only UK domiciled graduates from a known region of domicile (the Channel Islands, Scillies and Isle of Man are also part of the dataset, but I've not put them on - they have a net loss of 21%, on a graduate population of 535). This doesn't mean that all regions except London are 'failing', it's just a way of showing how much the rest of the country contributes talent to the capital, and that the movement of graduates is more pronounced the closer to London that graduates originally lived. So this looks at where 2010/11 graduates were six months after leaving, compared to where they originally began

Yorkshire, which has a slight net gain of graduates, seemingly gets graduates moving in, largely from East Lancs and Lincolnshire - as you'd expect.

It's also not a graph of regional retention from institutions, which would look different.

Here's how it looks in simple number terms

I did one that also looks at percentages but I'm not sure that's as useful.

So, in brief, UK graduates come from all sorts of places and go to work in all sorts of places, but there's an early net movement to London.

'All the jobs are in London'

Myths about the graduate jobs market: 4

I've been saving this one because I wrote about it in What Do Graduates Do?

You sometimes hear the idea that 'all the jobs are in London'.

Here is a chart of where UK-domiciled graduates from 2010/11 were working six months after graduation.
Where were graduates from 2010/11 working six months after graduation?
London is, unsurprisingly, the most popular place for graduates to start work (and the proportion has gone up - slightly - in the last few years). It's got a good, diverse jobs market, and attractive salary offers. But most graduates are not in London.

Now, that doesn't mean that some sectors are not pretty strongly concentrated in London. Here's the same chart, but only for graduates entering the media and publishing industries.

Where were graduates from 2010/11, employed in the media, working six months after graduation?
Much higher - but still not a majority. And just for the purposes of balance, here's the breakdown for engineers.

Where were graduates from 2010/11, employed as engineers, working six months after graduation?
Definitely not a majority there. 

Not all kinds of jobs are available in all parts of the country. London has the largest and most diverse graduate jobs market the UK has to offer. According to the ONS, London has a population of 7.8m, which is 12.6% of the total UK population. 

And about 15% of graduates from 2010/11 were originally from London, using this year's DLHE data, so the region does import more graduates from elsewhere, as expected.

Nevertheless, most graduates don't work in the capital, and they don't need to. You don't have to go to London to get a job.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

What do Graduates Do?

Normally at this point, I'd do a piece explaining what's in this year's What Do Graduates Do?, but Sean Coughlan at the BBC has written it already.

The basic story is that graduates did rather better last year than we feared they might, especially as we had the double dip recession.

A record number - 104,455 - were known to be in graduate-level employment after six months, and although unemployment nudged up a little, to 8.6%, it hasn't, as yet, got back to the heights of 2009, and is nowhere near the figures for the recessions in the 90s and 80s. It's by no means an easy jobs market for graduates, but most still get jobs, and most of those with jobs have what we will now call 'professional level' employment, in honour of KIS.

And remember - this is all after just 6 months of what will be, for most of these graduates, a career of at least 45 years.

We've done quite a bit of work on regional data this year, and I wrote a piece on it in the publication (no spoilers), and Jen has done a super redesign ahead of the big 2013 one that is coming when SOC2010 comes into use and all the data changes a lot. Presenting the data in graph format has always been something we've struggled with, but Jen has taken her design sensibilities to it and come up with something elegant, and I think it looks excellent.

But if anyone has any suggestions or feedback in advance of the big new redesign, we'd be delighted to hear them.

None of this, of course, would be possible without our friends and HESA and AGCAS (and as a brutal punishment for their efforts, this edition contains photos of all the AGCAS writers - I remain unillustrated so the book will not serve as a device to frighten small children away from the fire) so thanks, as always, go to them.

The next few months look as if they may be a little more of the same, so as things stand I wouldn't be surprised if 2011/12's figures look quite similar - but I guess we'll find out next year.

Monday, 8 October 2012

"You need to do a vocational degree to get a job"

Myths about the graduate jobs market: Number 3

Another simple diagram.
 Unemployment rates for psychology and civil engineering graduates after six months.

There were over 12,400 graduates in psychology last year, and they went into all sorts of roles - the degree isn't really a vocational one in the conventional sense. Civil engineering is a highly vocational degree which, before the recession, enjoyed enviably low unemployment rates.

But unfortunately, because the construction industry has suffered especially badly during the recession, the unemployment rate for civil engineering graduates has shot up since the downturn began (fortunately, it seems to be falling again). A lot of good graduates from excellent civil engineering courses have struggled to find jobs through no fault of their own - architecture has also had the same issues.

Now, these are two extreme examples, and should not be used to generalise to the idea that all vocational degrees are worse than non-vocational, but it does show that you simply can't point at a difficult jobs market and pronounce that if only everyone did vocational degrees, then graduates would get jobs more easily. The argument falls apart if particular sectors hit trouble and graduates trained in relevant fields start to struggle in the jobs market.

Graduates from subjects, like psychology, who have the broad training to adapt to setbacks in the jobs market and to look elsewhere, have often fared better than those with excellent training in roles that are currently in short supply. That doesn't mean, of course, that civil engineering will maintain a high unemployment rate. Job conditions are improving. Students and institutions will adapt and learn to take their high-quality skills to other industries, who will get access to people with training that has been in short supply in the wider economy.

Of course - and particularly relevant just at the moment - this data could also be used, were you so inclined, to argue that it is dangerous to judge the quality of a degree or course simply from uncontextualised early information on jobs outcomes. I couldn't possibly comment.