Showing posts with label statistics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label statistics. Show all posts

Monday, 14 July 2014

Destination data - we're looking a lot better this year


We now have DLHE data, and work is now under way on What Do Graduates Do, which will look at destination data in the traditional detail.

The first impression is that outcomes for 2012/13 graduates are a marked improvement on last year, as is being reported elsewhere.

Here are the basics, for all graduates (the HESA press release tends to look just at full-time graduates, we look at all graduates, part time and full time).  The employment rate is up and the unemployment rate is quite a bit down.

Let’s take a look at that unemployment rate of 7.3 per cent, as it’s interesting. The last times the graduate unemployment rate after six months fell by more than one percentage point in a year were in 1995/6 (from 8.1 per cent to 6.9 per cent) and then again in 1996/7 (from 6.9 per cent to 5.7 per cent) as the economy recovered from the recession of the early 90s. 7.3 per cent is the lowest unemployment rate for graduates after six months since before the recession, in 2006/7.

This data shows all the signs of a recovery in the graduate jobs market, and the lessons of previous recessions tell us that if this has started in earnest (and it may not – the early 90s recovery was patchy and it might happen again), it’s likely to take place over a couple of years (so there’s a good chance that the jobs market will continue to improve) and will then level off. If I were a betting man – which I’m not, because, you know, statistics  – I would put my money on that levelling off not taking place for another couple of years yet. Next year is crucial. If we see another clear improvement in graduate outcomes, we can declare a Proper Recovery for graduates and look forward to the employment rate (inc. work and study) creeping up towards 80 per cent and the unemployment rate down to around the 6 per cent mark. 

The news is not all unalloyed good, of course. It looks like the extra jobs are not evenly distributed at all and that recovery has increased both the number of graduates working in London, and London’s overall share of graduate employment. Other cities have also done well (Manchester particularly, by the look of things), but I’ve got mixed feelings about a graduate recovery that entrenches London’s position. I’d rather see jobs better distributed for the wider national economic health. Maybe if recovery continues we will see a more even share of the spoils next year. Let’s hope so.

In the meantime, let’s be happy that, for graduates, we appear to be embarking on a recovery, that these improved figures will reflect very hard work from students and from the people who guide them, but bear in mind that very many will still find it hard to make the next steps on their career after graduation, and we need to help them.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Graduates in the media - what jobs do they do?

I'm continuing with my in-depth look at graduate entry to the media industry last year so that we can examine what destination data is capable of and see what we can find out to help graduates more effectively get jobs in this highly-competitive industry.

We've looked at the sub-industries, and the grades and institutions for graduates who got jobs in the industry last year. 'But that's all very well, Charlie', I hear you cry, 'I've printed out all your splendid graphs and wallpapered my bedchamber with them, impressing family and friends, but what are all these graduates actually doing?'.

That's a good question, Fictional Reader, a good question. I'm glad you asked it.

Let's take a look at what graduates actually do. First, publishing

This graph covers first degrees only. Postgraduates are significant for journalism posts in particular, but a majority of all of these jobs are filled by first degree graduates.
Almost all of the most popular jobs - those for which more than 40 graduates got jobs in the UK last year - were professional level - the administrators are just below, but graduates in those roles often progress quickly to more conventional graduate jobs. It's important to note the presence of IT support staff - there are opportunities here for people with good computing and communications skills to make a career in a competitive and sought-after industry. But, although journalism is popular, about 1 in 6 of graduates entering these roles was not getting paid. The majority were reporting getting paid, but it's clear that there are a lot of graduates doing work for organisations in this industry and not getting paid for it.

The TV, film and video production industry is a mixed bag. Although the top two roles are graduate level, many graduates entering this industry are doing so in jobs that don't really require a higher education qualification. There's no role similar to publishing where a lot of graduates are not getting paid - about 8% of arts officers/producers/directors reported that they were unpaid, and there also seem to be quite a few unpaid marketers and photographers - and a lot of graduates are working on the technical side of operations, in photography and AV roles, so if you're keen to enter the industry, this might be a route to follow.

Broadcasting was the smallest recruiter of new graduates of the three areas of media we're looking at. This graph is a little misleading - in fact most new journalists entering broadcasting had Masters qualifications (in contrast to publishing, where most had first degrees). That is something to consider if you're a prospective journalist wondering about the qualifications you need. One in eight producers/directors were in unpaid roles - and about one in six photographers and AV operators, and a quarter of the small cohort of actors, so this is another industry where unpaid work is not uncommon. The programmers, though - they get paid.

This gives a brief overview of the kinds of roles people can expect going from university into media jobs. There are a range of options available, but there are also some areas to concentrate on.

Next up, where are these jobs in the country? (CLUE: LONDON)

Friday, 2 August 2013

Graduates in the media - industries

Going to try something a bit new here, so bear with me.

An awful lot of graduates want to work in media industries, and they're consequently very competitive to get into. But what do we actually know about graduate jobs in the media? How many people go into the various industries? Who gets them? What qualifications do you need? Where are the jobs?

Well, I thought I'd have a look, so I'll do a series of posts using destination data to examine entry into the media industry in the UK last year.

The first set looks at the sub-sectors of media, which I've defined as the following:

  • Publishing (2,695 UK-domiciled graduates at all levels entered publishing last year)
  • TV, video and film production (2,625 UK-domiciled graduates at all levels entered TV, video and film production last year)
  • Broadcasting (1,190 UK-domiciled graduates at all levels entered broadcasting last year)
 The breakdown for publishing looks like this:

'Other publishing activities' seems to be mainly online media, for the record. Some parts of this group are quite keen on people with Masters - in journalism, publishing and English particularly - these subjects, along with design and media studies, are important at first degree level. Note that magazine publishing recruited more graduates last year than newspapers.

The largest group here are with organisations cutting across multiple roles. About a fifth have Masters qualifications. Media studies and cinematics and photography are the most important degrees here at both first degree and Masters level - and there are quite a few graduates in design and in music. Note that this sector recruited more graduates than did newspapers last year - something to bear in mind next time we see a newspaper article decrying media studies graduates.

Broadcasting is the smallest section - and we've got a lost of postgraduates here, and the postgraduate degree of choice is a Masters in journalism. There were also a lot of graduates with first degrees in journalism who entered broadcasting last year, but media studies was the most common first degree held by new entrants to broadcasting last year. Other popular first degrees were drama, cinematics/photography, English and computer science.

I'll take a look at subjects and grades next - but if there's anything you particularly want me to examine, let me know. It would be good to know if this information is helpful, and what else people might want to know.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Does your university choice affect your job choice?


This is one of those questions to which the answer is 'yes'.

Of course, we all know that some employers prefer to recruit from those universities they think are 'better', for one reason or another. Personally, I happen to think that restricting your search restricts your potential talent pool, but others think differently.

So here are the jobs most likely to be filled by someone from a university with high entry requirements, and those least likely. The institutions I'm looking at were defined in Futuretrack as the 'highest tariff' institutions, based on the average UCAS score required to enter, and they are listed at the end of the post.

These are the jobs where over 50% of new graduate entrants last year came from one of the more selective universities:

Vets (which are the highest), dentists, and doctors are also on the list, but I've excluded them as it's not surprising - you need good UCAS scores to get onto the courses anyway, the courses are largely delivered by these institutions, and you probably know already if you're likely to be a doctor or not.

The high prestige - and salary - finance jobs are, as expected, a preserve of these institutions - although not exclusively. You might be able to get to be an actuary without going to a Russell Group university, although you'll find it easier to get in if you did go to one. Some technical roles are on the list as well - this may partly be a function of where chemistry and process engineering courses take place. These courses can be costly for institutions to deliver.

And, by counterpoint, here are the graduate jobs for which fewer than 4% came from one of institutions with the highest entry requirements.


There's actually quite a lot there, and I've removed two jobs at the end - commercial artists, and chartered architectural technologists, which no graduates of highest tariff universities are known to have entered last year. These jobs are a little more arts focussed and, let's be honest, nothing here pays anything like investment banking, actuarial work or management consultancy. So if your sole criterion for a 'good job' is that it pays a lot, then the institutions with the most stringent entry requirements are most likely to deliver that.

But, being realistic, the most honest promise universities can offer is that if you go, you'll probably ultimately make a comfortable living doing something relatively interesting that you probably would have found difficult to get into without a degree.

You probably won't get rich, but you can get a good job, and you can get jobs no matter which institution you've gone to. It's not a bad offer.

Here's that list of institutions



University of Bath
University of Birmingham
Brighton and Sussex Medical School
University of Bristol
University of Cambridge
University College London
University of Durham
University of Edinburgh
University of Glasgow
Hull York Medical School
Imperial College London
King's College London
University of Leeds
London School of Economics
University of Manchester
University of Newcastle
University of Nottingham
Oxford University
Peninsula Medical School
Royal Veterinary College (University of London)
University of St Andrews
St George's Hospital Medical School (University of London)
University of Sheffield
University of Southampton
University of Strathclyde
University of Warwick
University of York

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Graduate unemployment rates since 1975

I try to do this every year as the new DLHE data shows up - a graph of the graduate unemployment rate after six months for each cohort since 1975.



Data comes from First Destination and DLHE surveys from HESA from 1975, most of it gleaned the old-fashioned way, from books. 

As we can see, things haven't changed a lot since the recession began, but the unemployment rate is still higher than it was at any time before the last recession in the 90s. Are we going to have to get used to a higher graduate unemployment rate? When you've had 5 years at similar levels, it's difficult to be confident it will drop.

But it does put current graduate issues into historic context - something that media reporting often fails to do - and it does reinforce that, with an unemployment rate of just over 8.5%, the very large majority of graduates are working or studying when they leave university.

Edited at 10:50 am because I am illiterate and can't spell 'graduate'. It's not a word I use often, after all.




Monday, 8 July 2013

Graduates, and what they do

We got our DLHE data on Friday afternoon, and so to the surprise of nobody at all, I'm going to write some posts about it.

Let's take a look at initial outcomes for UK-domiciled first degree graduates.
Much as expected, most graduates are working after six months, and about 8.5% are unemployed. Average salary

Of course, there have been some very significant changes to DLHE as it underwent its first significant review and revision for 10 years. A new classification system for occupations has been introduced (I'll look at this separately), but the change that concerns us here is the change to the way outcomes are reported. Respondents can report more than one activity and can choose one as their most important. This allows us to track people with more than one job a little more effectively - useful for career tracks with a less conventional structure, such as in the arts, where graduates can have more than one job.

In actual fact, 95% of those reporting working only have one job - even amongst those working part-time, 89% have one job.

The side effect is that it means that we can't really robustly track figures over time at the moment, so this new data isn't properly comparable with the last 10 years. A shame, when we're trying to look at whether the jobs market is picking up.

But I've looked at last year's data, and it seems the main effect has been to reassign some graduates from the 'working and studying' category to 'working'. Studying and unemployment rates are probably not examined in exactly the same way as they were, but they're probably close enough to draw basic conclusions.

And the conclusion I've drawn is that things seem to have picked up a little for graduates. Not a lot - we hadn't turned a corner at the start of the year, but we might be a little more optimistic about prospects for the classes of 2013 and 2014.

Still a lot of work to do, of course, not least of which is ensuring students and graduates do know that there are jobs to get and to help them understand how, where and when to look.

Friday, 5 July 2013

HEFCE on graduate outcomes

HEFCE have released a new report, ‘Higher education and beyond’, which examines the degree outcomes and employment circumstances of young UK-domiciled students starting a full-time first degree course in the years to 2006-7.

The report uses student record data and destination data to track five cohorts of entrants from 2002-3 to 2006-7.

Not a lot of the content will come as a surprise to anyone who has followed HEFCE or HECSU publications over the last few years, and I remain unconvinced by the method used to determine if a job is a graduate one - the responses to questions on the destination survey about whether the graduate feels that they needed a degree to get their job (not all graduates will have a clear or accurate view) and on what aspect of their qualification graduates felt was most important to their employer (not all graduates will have a clear or accurate insight into the motivations of their employers).

It's also worth mentioning that all entrants went into HE before the recession, and any fees changes, began and so things may be different now.

The report has captured media interest as it suggests different groups of students have different outcomes when adjusted for various factors and that these differences might be significant. Reports have focussed on the fact that state school pupils do better than expected when other known factors are taken into account - but they also do less well than independent school pupils.

I find the outcomes using the POLAR 3  (Participation Of Local Areas) classification of student background especially interesting, although it rather suggests that the more affluent the student background, they more likely they are to do well.

On the whole, I have mixed feelings about the report. I fear some of it is now out of date - an inevitable consequence of the time it takes for someone to enter HE and then leave it - but that it does give an interesting insight into conditions for students as they then existed. I am not sure about some of the methodology, although that doesn't render the contents useless, just means we need to think carefully about them.

It does show that the differences between cohorts is not enormous even though some of these groups will have graduated before recession and some afterwards - outcomes for graduates have proven reasonably resilient. An increased unemployment rate of 2.2% as a consequence of the recession is far less than you might be led to believe.

But it does flag up that there are challenges to ensure equality of access and of outcome, and that the sector might have some way to go before they are met. This is a valuable reminder that some groups are not getting the same outcomes as others - students from non-traditional backgrounds are not faring as we would like - and there's work to do for all of us.


Monday, 1 July 2013

Jigsaw pieces


The High Fliers survey of employers, The Graduate Market in 2013, is out this morning – grab it here.

The report follows the usual pattern – it’s a very good examination of a small group of influential, London employers with large graduate training schemes, and so is very good if you’re interested in that sort of job. It’s not very good either if you’re not interested in that kind of role, and nor is it very good at examining the UK graduate jobs market as it is actually experienced by all but a small minority of graduates.

Predictably, national media reporting focusses on a reports of £29k starting salaries – the average graduate starting salary is not £29k, it’s £20k, as HESA showed us last week with their far larger and more representative destination data.

So, how should we read this report? Is it worth reading at all? Let’s start with the second question – it’s definitely worth reading. It gives an excellent picture of a small group of prestigious employers and is useful for getting a solid feeling on how these organisations are faring. 

What’s useful? Well - it turns out that these blue-chip organisations overestimated their need for graduates last year by about 8% - although this seems to be uneven and the finance industry recruited rather fewer graduates than expected whilst engineering recruited more. This is very interesting and useful because it demonstrates quite how volatile conditions can be even for well-resourced and prepared organisations, and how plans can change. Because of this, I think we need to be cautious when we declare it’s the best graduate jobs market for n years – it might be, but it’s likely to be by a matter of increments rather than a big improvement.

The section on work experience is also important for anyone wanting to understand the graduate jobs market. The messages are strong – there are a lot of work experience opportunities available with these organisations (the large majority offer them), industrial placements are available – and if you want to work for these employers, you want to be targeting them as soon as you feasibly can. Your final year might be too late. These are competitive jobs, and 36% of the positions surveyed were likely to go to people who had done work experience with that employer. Only 44% of surveyed employers think it likely that someone without work experience would get to interview. I think the point is being made here.

There’s also a list of universities that these employers prefer to target. As a (double) Warwick alumnus, I personally like that I’m clearly massively in demand, but I’m afraid I think that limiting recruitment to a small group of universities means you narrow your perspectives and miss talent.

By far the most common view from employers is that the number of applications is broadly similar to last year, and that seems to be the overall message – things are much the same as they were in 2012, perhaps a little better in some areas, but not a great lot.
And, in the end, we can file this under ‘important part of the jigsaw’. The process of amassing a picture of the whole graduate labour market is a process of fitting pieces together, and this is a good piece. It shouldn’t be mistaken for a whole view, but nor should it be cast aside because it doesn’t tell us everything.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Glancing at education


The OECD’s annual Education At A Glance is out, one of my favourite publications. That’s not because the OECD’s idea of ‘a glance’ runs to 440 pages, but rather because it’s full of lovely stats.

The main headlines in the press have been about the value of qualifications in recession – something we all knew but nice to have it reiterated so starkly. 

You can see my, ahem, wise and far-sighted commentary in this Guardian article, quotes taken about 15 minutes before I was due to collect my 4-year old daughter from her first ever trip to primary school (this involved lots of crying, foot-dragging and ‘I don’t want to’s – she, on the other hand, was fine).

The publication is an essential reference document for comparative stats on educational performance at all levels, and there a good deal of fascinating (if you’re me) information on the proportion of people in HE, how much is spent on them, and what happens to them and so on. Last year had some really clever analysis of the social benefits of HE, and this year looks at the proportion of the population who smoke or are judged obese by level of education. There’s lots of information in there for the wonks as well, especially on public and private spending on education. A wonk who can’t quote much of this section verbatim by the end of June might as well give up.

The report confirms a persistent large wage premium for UK graduates that is larger than it was before the recession but which has varied since the start. There’s also a very interesting section looking at employment and unemployment rates over time at different education levels. What is very interesting (and potentially controversial) is that the data shows a pretty small drop in the employment rate of graduates aged 25-34 in the UK as a result of recession (the data doesn’t go any younger) – down from 88 per cent to 86 per cent. Compare the rates of 25-34 year olds leaving with low qualifications – down from 60 per cent to 54 per cent. Or, if you like, UK graduates are more likely to be employed than the OECD average, and those who leave with GCSE s are less likely. Now, this doesn’t say anything about graduates from 21 to 24, but looking at countries that have better rates than ours for 25 to 34 year olds is pretty difficult. Norway and Germany, maybe. Things aren’t so good for older graduates, actually, and we fall below the international average for 55 to 64 year old graduates. Likewise, our graduate unemployment rates for 25 to 34 year olds is rather better than the international average – this bit lays bare quite how bad things are for young people in Spain and Greece. So it does rather show that whilst things are obviously not as good as they were before the recession, it’s better to have a degree in the UK than not, and it’s usually better to be a graduate in the UK than a graduate in many other economies. 

That doesn’t mean we can sit back and congratulate ourselves. There’s a lot of work to do to make sure we don’t fall back and to support young people in this tough jobs market – and this is everyone’s responsibility.