Skip to Content

Large Image

2015: The year indebted students focus on careers

As we approach the end of 2015, we have begun to see a real shift in students’ mindsets. In June, both the Guardian and Times Higher Education reported on the latest annual report from High Fliers ResearchThe UK Graduate Careers Survey 2015 – indicating that the graduating class of 2015 (the first to pay the £9000 tuition fees) was more career-focused than previous cohorts of graduates.

In July, the Accenture Strategy 2015 UK University Graduate Employment Study was published, again indicating that graduates were more focused on career prospects and anxious to pursue a graduate-level job. That said, there was still evidence of a mismatch between what graduates had studied and the industry they ended up working in.

This theme came up again in the report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), published in August. The Over-qualification and Skills Mismatch in the Graduate Labour Market study gained a great deal of media coverage and indeed criticism from across the HE sector (to be fair, the data came from 2010, during a particularly weak economy). Nevertheless, it reminded HE that our graduates cannot be complacent in expecting to walk into a highly paid job, appropriate to their university course. And with additional competition from other providers and indeed other forms of higher education on the market, students need to be better informed about the labour market.

And so, fast forward to November and City and Guilds published their own report, Great Expectations: Teenagers’ Career Aspirations Versus the Reality of the UK Jobs Market, with a supporting video


And guess what? There was a strong theme that there is a real need for more objective information to help young people plan their career pathways.

Local authorities, LEPs, colleges and universities are all beginning to realise that careers advice should not just be about the here and now – it also needs to consider the regional labour markets of the future to enable the people they serve to plan their careers and transform their lives.

I would like to highlight a great example of a forward-thinking local authority who have acknowledged this and put resource into helping their young people access such information. Southampton City Council has recognised that to help build a prosperous city, their young people need access to essential information to help them make important decisions about their future. Access Southampton was launched earlier this year to do just that.

I welcome any thoughts colleagues might have on this.

Posted by Jamie Mackay on Wed, 8 Feb 2017

comments powered by Disqus

Jamie is Business Development Manager for Higher Education at Economic Modelling Specialists Int'l (EMSI). Jamie has a long track record in the HE sector, with particular specialisms in widening participation, marketing, recruitment and partnerships. In his current role, he works closely with universities to enable them to better understand their role in driving their regional economy through graduate employability and increased productivity.

View Profile