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THE STRATEGIC AND PLANNING VALUE OF INSTITUTIONAL RESEARCH IN TRACKING GRADUATE EMPLOYMENT. Making the best use of Africa's graduates and the role of international partnerships British Council and the Association of the Commonwealth Universities 16-18 January 2011, Accra, Ghana

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the strategic and planning value of institutional research in tracking graduate employment

THE STRATEGIC AND PLANNING VALUE OF INSTITUTIONAL RESEARCH IN TRACKING GRADUATE EMPLOYMENT

Making the best use of Africa's graduates and the role of international partnerships

British Council and the Association of the Commonwealth Universities

16-18 January 2011, Accra, Ghana

Dr Michael Gregory,

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Planning & Quality), University of the South Pacific

Email gregory_m@usp.ac.fj

www.drmichaelgregory.com

resource materials on graduate employability
Resource Materials on Graduate Employability
  • Can be found at:

www.mgregorygraduateemployment.weebly.com

is graduate unemployment a problem in africa
Is Graduate Unemployment a Problem in Africa?
  • BOTSWANA STUDIES
    • 2007 – 31% unemployed 5 months after graduating
    • 2008 – 30% unemployed 5 months after graduating
    • 2009 – 24% unemployed 5 months after graduating
    • Differentiated eg Humanities graduates 46% unemployed ; Health, 2%; Education 10% and Engineering & Technology 8% unemployed
    • National unemployment rate in 2009: 17.5%
    • Studies show that graduate unemployment reduces over 2 years following graduation
    • Only 1% in self-employment
  • Two major studies in 2003 (Samarrai et al - Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe) (Mugabushaka, et al – 10 tracer studies in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda)

(www.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/AFRICAEXT/EXTAFRRE...

    • 1%-5% of graduates were unemployed and looking for work
    • 80-90% of graduates working in jobs related to their area of studies
    • Self-employment among graduates was rare – around 4%
    • Little difference due to gender
    • Business admin, engineering and education were 3-4% unemployed whereas humanities and natural sciences were around 8%
the importance of employability at the university of botswana
The Importance of Employability at the University of Botswana
  • Increasing pressure from governments, employers, parents and students for relevancy
    • Knowledge, skill and attributes
  • Favourable entry into the graduate job market
  • Demand for human capital requirements
    • Knowledge economy
    • Lifelong learning
  • Globalisation of higher education
  • Increased competition and choice
  • Erosion of monopoly position
  • Post colonial transition
    • From civil service and teacher education
    • Increased and diversified private sector
  • From supply driven to demand led
why did we introduce employability studies
Why Did we Introduce Employability Studies?
  • First one conducted in 1997; a number of single discipline studies
  • Institutional survey carried out in 2006 did not have any impact on planning
  • Annual surveys instituted in 2007, 2008, 2009 and beyond
  • Trend analysis of 3 years reported in 2010
  • Intention to undertake in 2010 a longitudinal survey of graduates from 2007 (much better test of employability as single year first destination studies reflect labour market conditions much more than employability)
  • Focused on graduates with Bachelor degrees (although data also collected on postgraduates)
the contextual setting
The Contextual Setting
  • Movement nationally from a workforce management model to a human resource development model
  • Away from a supply driven model (economy based on diamonds and public service) to demand driven HE (with private sector development and greater diversity in extractive industries and services)
  • A more direct connection in the role of the University with the economy, building human capital in increased regional and global markets
  • Massification of HE, diversification of the sector, reduction in public funding per capita. In Botswana, more accountability for programmes of study that promise employability
  • Improved quality of HE with employability being a perceived outcome of quality
  • Endogenous growth theory indicates HE has a significant impact on economic growth (See Siphambe, 2008 for a discussion of this in Botswana; Wolfe & Gittlemean, 1993 for a Taiwanese study; Bloom, Hartley & Rosovsky, 2004 for a US study; Oketch, 2006 studied 47 countries in Africa and showed linkage between high investment in physical and human capital and labour productivity in medium term and in per capita growth in the next round)
employment or employability
Employment or Employability?
  • Related but not synonymous
  • Employment is a function of the state of the labour force and closely tied to macro-economic context (Tabulawa, University of Botswana Task Force on Graduate Employability, 2009)
  • Employability definition by Yorke, 2006):

“…a set of achievements – skills, understandings and personal attributes – that makes graduates more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations, which benefits themselves, the workplace, the community and the economy”

“…to help sustain ongoing careers” (Bhanugopan & Fish, 2009)

the problem of employability
The ‘Problem’ of Employability
  • Good student learning and employability go side by side
  • How do we promote the concept of employability and how can it be enhanced without eroding the subject-specific dimension of learning?
  • Whilst Science, Technology and Business are clearly related to the world of work, where does that leave the Humanities and Arts – note current policy in the UK to reduce funding for non –STEM subjects; is the quest for employability eroding the traditional values of a university education?
  • UB took the proposition that our graduates should be fit for “life, work and citizenship” derived from the USEM account of employability (See Yorke & Knight, 2006)
how did ub respond
How did UB Respond?
  • Semesterisation (2003)
  • Credit-based curriculum
  • General Education courses
  • Attributes identified in Learning and Teaching Policy (2009)
  • Incorporation of work experience
  • Extra-curricular activities (volunteering, advisory clinics staffed by staff and students, eg law, counselling etc)
  • Employability Studies of students
  • Employer engagement
  • Alumni database to improve graduate tracking
  • Some discipline-based tracking studies
  • Employer involved Advisory Boards
  • Leading to a UNIVERSITY EMPLOYABILITY STRATEGY (2009)
    • Will draw on more analytical information from surveys and engagement with students, staff, employers and government
    • To bring coherence and improvement to employability
  • More research needed on employer perceptions
the overall picture of the graduate first destination surveys 2007 2009
The Overall Picture of the Graduate First Destination Surveys 2007-2009
  • There has been an increase of 6.9% in graduate employment since the GDS 2007.
  • Of the respondents who were available for employment in 2009, 42.2% were in full-time employment within five months of completing their qualifications; 21.9% were working part-time; and 24.3% were unemployed. This means that, within the five month period, nearly a quarter of UB graduates were unemployed. This compares unfavourably with a national unemployment rate of 17.5% (2005/06 Labour Force: CSO). This is however an improvement on 2007 and 2008 unemployment rates which were just over 30% in both years.
  • For the 2008 and 2009 GDS, graduates from the Faculty of Humanities are the most likely to be unemployed relative to other Faculties.
  • At a time when the social and economic policy of the Government is indicating the need for more qualified graduates in Science and Technology areas, the survey findings revealed that there has been an improvement in the employment levels of Faculty of Engineering and Technology as compared to the 2007 GDS (Table 5).
  • Data on Science graduates indicates low levels of full-time employment but increasing levels of part-time employment.
  • Employment levels of graduates from programmes in Health Sciences, and Engineering and Technology are approaching those attained in OECD countries.
  • 67% of employed graduates from Bachelor programmes are working in Education or Public Administration (77% in 2008). This seemingly indicates that there has been little shift in training for the traditional sectors of employment in the schooling system and the civil service, and insufficient movement towards supporting the human capital needs of the private sector.
  • Competitors such as the Botswana Accountancy College are winning an increasing share of UB graduates.
  • Only 1.2% of graduates from 2009 (1% in 2008) were engaged in self-employment. Little is known about the reasons for this, but it is proposed there are a likely number of elements:
    • Lack of capital for start up
    • Lack of entrepreneurship training on undergraduate programmes
    • Historic and cultural aspirations to work in permanent and ‘secure’ public sector employment
    • Aspiration to work for ‘big name companies’
    • Poor esteem in self-employment
    • Insecurity of self-employment
    • Self-employment seen as a ‘last resort’ option; subsistence option
employer satisfaction survey of ub graduates
Employer Satisfaction Survey of UB Graduates
  • Conducted in 2007
    • 5,694 employees in 32 organisations. 61 supervisors surveyed– 11% were UB graduates
  • Key findings:
    • 97% of graduates prepared sufficiently more than adequately or extremely well; 7% less than adequate but poor rating on leadership and managerial skills (young graduates in Botswana often move very rapidly into supervisory positions due to demographics)
    • Graduate attributes rated by respondents in a range of 30%-50% (clearly better identification of graduate attributes needed and enhanced in curriculum)
    • Graduate attitude (initiative, cooperation, loyalty, attendance and punctuality) – 5% rated poor
    • Overall academic preparation rated very high at 98% good, average and excellent
employability strategy
Employability Strategy
  • Raise levels of employability on first destination AND in longer term (lifelong learning)
  • Key outcomes:
    • Enhanced learning relevant to work
    • Increased engagement with employers
    • Increase percentage of students into full-time employment
    • Increase in the percentage of self-employment (only 1.5% in 2008/9
      • Developing enterprise and entrepreneurship
    • Not a one size fits all solution
    • Identify strategies in the student learning life-cycle

J:\Stage in the Student Learning Life 2.docx

    • Work-related learning
    • Personal development planning (electronic portfolios)
    • Stronger employer engagement
    • Enhance careers and employability services
    • Faculty strategies and targets – KPIs
    • Staff professional development/adjuncts from business
slide14
End

Thank you

Dr Michael Gregory

gregory_m@usp.ac.fj

www.drmichaelgregory.com