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Data digest: September 2019

September 2019

Welcome to Luminate's monthly summary of the key data and developments in higher education, careers services, graduate recruitment and the labour market

This month on Luminate

  • The changing role of the HE careers practitioner - according to recent Australian study, training for careers and employability professionals does not always reflect the skills actually required for the job, an issue which Claire Guy is certain we are experiencing within the UK. With the skillset expected of careers and employability professionals becoming increasingly varied and complex, it is important that they are flexible and agile in their response to the changing nature of higher education if we are to see progress. Progress that Claire Guy is confident will be guided by the learning and development resources currently being created by AGCAS members. [Luminate]
  • Graduates in self-employment and microbusinesses - aiming to get a picture of how HESA's Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) data maps out the early stages of graduate entrepreneurship in the UK, the following report examines the demographics of UK-domiciled graduates who went on to work in either self-employment or for microbusinesses. With 9,210 graduates identifying as self-employed in 2016/17, it is vital for us to 'examine who engages in this activity, what they do, and where they do it'. [Luminate]
  • Graduate employers' attitudes towards diversity revealed - although we are becoming increasingly aware that class is only one factor structuring inequality - with gender, ethnicity, sexuality and disability also making a difference - employers continue to report a variety of issues with the diversity of their organisations, with many freely admitting that their organisations are not as diverse as they would like. However, they are taking actions to address this issue (e.g. name blind recruitment, changing the universities they visit etc.), and while most firms appear to prioritise gender and ethnicity, there is growing realisation that there is a need for action on other strands of diversity. [Luminate]

What's on Charlie's mind?

Graduate labour market expert and Prospects' head of higher education intelligence, Charlie Ball, tells us what's caught his eye this month.

The relevance of place to people's identities and so to the way they choose their careers. We know most people like to work in places they already know, and few graduates are keen to move to somewhere new to start their careers, but this has a lot of important implications. It means graduates tend to cluster around universities and leave places that don't have them, and it means that graduates who do go home to parts of the country with difficult jobs markets need a lot of support that isn't easy to provide. These are big issues for universities and we need to understand them better.

News in summary

  • Record number of disadvantaged pupils get university places - over the years higher education providers have been under enormous pressure to widen access to their institutions. Pressure which appears to have had some effect, with admissions agency UCAS reporting that, this year, record numbers of young people from the most disadvantaged backgrounds have won university places. The increase, which was welcomed by the sector, means that 25,910 of the 495,620 students with a confirmed place on a full time undergraduate course come from disadvantaged backgrounds, up 1% from 2018. [The Guardian]
  • UK to reintroduce two-year post-study work visas - seven years following Theresa May's (then home secretary) abolishment of two-year post-study work visas; Boris Johnson's new government has announced their return. A decision that is likely to be welcomed by universities, as they originally viewed their abolishment as a deterrent to international students given that rival nations such as the US and Canada maintained them. [Times Higher Education]
  • Cambridge University accepts record number of state school pupils - for the first time since its opening, state educated pupils have won two thirds of the available places at Cambridge University. Additionally, 14% of the same freshers cohort derives from the countries most deprived areas, up from 12% for the previous year. With 68% of students coming from state schools this year, it is fair to say that Cambridge University are close to meeting their desire of having state educated pupils make up 69% of its intake by 2024-25. [The Guardian]
  • The New Realists: students prioritise financial security (59%) over wealth (13%) or fame (9%) - new in-depth study finds that students are realistic about challenges and future aspirations; further, that they are resourceful in how they navigate such challenges in order to achieve the lives they want. For instance, it was revealed that only 13% of students want to be wealthy or achieve a senior position in their chosen field, while 62% simply want to find a job they are passionate about and a further 59% indicating that their main goal is to achieve financial stability. [HEPI]

Data Point

Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey reveals that 76% of first-degree graduates felt that they were either 'well' or 'very well' prepared for work by their university course. [Luminate]

Global outlook

What's a degree worth? - many have begun to worry about the future prospects of Indian graduates, as a recent report released by the Azim Premji University's Centre for Sustainable Employment asserts that graduates are more than twice as likely to be unemployed than the national average. Furthermore, of the graduates who are able to find employment, many find themselves underemployed with reports claiming that both graduates and post-graduates are being forced to compete for lower level jobs. [The Pioneer]

Research from the Luminate library

What employers want in a CV - Submitting a CV is an essential part of most job applications, as it can serve as a platform for students to effectively articulate their potential to graduate employers. Therefore, it is vital to know what to include, what to exclude and how it should be formatted. Knowing that this can be difficult, researchers at Keele University set out to create a 'user-friendly rubric' for CVs informed by the views of UK graduate employers. Not only was the project able to reaffirm several widely accepted conventions (e.g. the ideal length of a CV), but there were also several surprise findings.

What employers want in a CV

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What employers want in a CV

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