Masters with a purpose - Jane Artess, Director of Research, HECSU


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Masters with a purpose - Jane Artess, Director of Research, HECSU

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  • Introduce Tristram and Peter
  • This was our brief was PGT with a specific focus on Masters .
  • This was how we approached the study.
    Data included literature on PGT study; best practice focussed on university-business engagement re PGT;
  • We began with data because it always helps to review the landscape – focussing on taught Masters programmes. Some things you may know; others may surprise you… there is a lot more in the full report. Here are a few examples.
    There is a lot of data held on PGT in both the Student Record and the DLHE – much of it, under used.
  • This describes all employment outcomes (full- and part-time, working whilst studying etc)
    Overall, PG employment outcomes are as good or better than UG outcomes.
    Part time students are blue – generally better employment outcomes (all) than those who study full time.
    Not just because they are older, more experienced … but arguably because they are already in employment.
    The differences by age are not so marked.
  • Higher likelihood of unemployment at six months amongst full time masters graduates compared with those who studied part time.
    Did you think the difference was so big?
    There appears to be a relatively high unemployment amongst young people who study part time – suggesting that those who progress from UG to PG without a break may be at a higher risk, than those who return to study.
    More mature full timers are however the most at risk of unemployment – which may reflect different abilities to be mobile, etc.
  • Professional level employment at 6 months amongst Masters graduates by broad subject group.
    Differences by subject might reflect the Masters labour market (if there is one) or typical career trajectories and as this slide demonstrates, the proportion of (young Masters grads) obtaining professional/managerial jobs also appears to vary by subject.
    When we add in gender – we find that women are rather less likely to be in prof/man jobs and the uplift to women of having studied part time appears to be greater than that for men.
    So age, mode, subject and gender are all key variable to watch in your own institutional data – and that’s without effects of location…. Or motivation to study – which the Futuretrack data shows, clearly, also varies by subject. i.e. :
    Those with the least intention to progress to PG study include, business studies, engineering, subjects allied to medicine and education.
    Those with the strongest intention to progress to PG study include, Law, History/philosophy, Linguistics/classics, Physical sciences. Biological sciences. And we can see who did, and who changed their minds too!
    Intention to progress to PG varies by institutional type with more likely to at the highest/high entry tarrif than med or low.
    So employers who engage with PG - are engaging with a complex bit of HE territory.
  • There are lots of examples of employer engagement with PG courses – not at all new. Lots in the full report….and lots of findings that didn’t make it to the full report too. It is something to celebrate.
    Example of Aston and the appointment of a Customer Relations Manager is one such, - interestingly based on research of employers’ perceptions. Importantly, this example, points to a ‘softer’ issue concerning the establishment of trust.
    Engagement of employers was through activities – employers as guest lecturers, proving placements, projects, academic staff acting as consultants, co-design of curricula, formal and informal communications – these hands on actions build trust and strengthen mutual understanding through day-to-day communication.
  • Wide range of collaborative activity – from just focussed on recruiting/Fairs – to co-curricular design, consultancy, research.
    Communication on a variety of levels appears to be key.
  • Nonetheless, whilst easy to describe, building effective collaboration is not easy to practice. Some of the challenges include:
    Shortage of time in Masters for placements/projects.
    Best practice examples, include responses that are both ‘niche’ and bespoke (addressing a specific business need) and more strategic (e.g. via work with professional bodies, etc). But getting the balance right for meeting employers’ needs and ensuring students’ longer term employability is challenging.
    Work experience combined with the Masters skills = winning combination for employers and for employability.
    Both bottom up and top down, create climate for collaboration.
    Relationship building takes time as well as know-how on both sides.
  • Some employers actively recruit Masters and have a sense of their added value - expressed in views such as – professional maturity, higher skills, better problem-solving abilities, leadership potential etc., but many employers did not specifically recruit for Masters grads – so were much less sure about the added value. Some identified work experience as more important than the Masters qualification.
    Issue is how to articulate the value of Masters.
    Those who did not specifically recruit Masters, seemed less clear of the added value as the comment reveals.
  • Strong business case
    Employers value work experience
    Most do not distinguish PG and UG but some do and have historically recruited Masters
    Within STEM there is a greater expectation of M level achievement
    Those who do not specifically recruit PG are less aware of value – need to articulate value
    Outcomes need to be understood at course level because courses with the same title, vary considerably.
  • Lots in the report – here are those that relate to universities.
  • Context is reduction in numbers progressing – esp part time
    What is driving changes in supply and demand
    What exactly is the added value of Masters
    Should HEIs be collaborating at the local, regional or national levels – meeting sector, as well as individual business demand.
  • Masters with a purpose - Jane Artess, Director of Research, HECSU

    1. 1. Enhancing postgraduate employability Masters with a Purpose HECSU and CFE July 3rd 2014, Woburn House Conference Centre, London.
    2. 2. Key research questions  The extent to which universities are collaborating with employers in course design and delivery  The value that employers place on postgraduate level skills  Current perceptions of the value of postgraduate skills  Identification of gaps in information and possible areas for improvement
    3. 3. Methodology Analysis of available data Identification of best practice Survey of selected employers Reporting and making recommendations
    4. 4. Using the data we have …
    5. 5. Full or part time? 2010/11 PT 2010/11 FT 2009/10 PT 2009/10 FT 2008/09 PT 2008/09 FT 21-24 80.5% 69.9% 80.6% 67.7% 80.4% 66.8% 25-29 86.1% 71.6% 86.3% 71.6% 86.1% 72.3% 30-39 84.4% 67.6% 86.8% 67.0% 86.5% 70.8% 40 years & over 82.4% 63.2% 84.1% 64.3% 84.0% 65.2% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
    6. 6. Unemployment Source: Destinations of Leavers from HE, HESA.
    7. 7. Subject differences Source: Destinations of Leavers from HE, HESA. Biomedical Biological Physical science Maths and IT Engineering Social science Business and management Humanities Creative arts 2011/12 73.3% 77.2% 65.7% 78.6% 90.1% 86.4% 71.8% 79.8% 62.6% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%Proportionofyoung,fulltimeMastersgraduatesfrom2011/12 inprofessionallevelemploymentafter6months
    8. 8. Employer engagement Aston – Customer Relations Manager surveyed business perceptions and found some were afraid to approach the Business School because hirers did not have MBAs. Hertfordshire - every course is designed with input from employers. Lincoln – new engineering school dedicated to power and energy established in collaboration with Siemens. Worcester – MA in Sustainable Development Advocacy developed with the Bulmer Foundation. Cardiff – MSc students working with iSolve to develop entrepreneurialism. Anglia Ruskin – working with employer advisory groups to consult with range of employers on curriculum change.
    9. 9. Collaboration Trust Shared agenda Agreed objectives Relationship management Shared language
    10. 10. Challenges  Year long Masters constrain time for work projects or placements  Balance of generic and specific learning  Recruiters not differentiating between undergraduates and Masters graduates  Need to build sustainable relationships
    11. 11. Added value of Masters “It would be really interesting work for me to do to actually look at the people who have progressed within our organisation and identify whether amongst them there is a higher proportion of people with Masters qualifications than with the general population we have. That’s actually quite an interesting question for me and one that, until we spoke about it now, I hadn’t even thought about.”
    12. 12. Findings  University-business collaboration on PGT is diverse and flourishing  Employers’ needs for Masters graduates are linked to their requirements for specific skills & knowledge  Depends on historic subject-career trajectories  No discrete Masters labour market  Need to be able to articulate value  Outcomes do not form consistent patterns
    13. 13. Conclusions and Recommendations  Explore how collaboration on PGT meets business needs  Recognise the need for robust information on PGT course outcomes (and advice)  Share good practice  Sandwich Masters to develop application of learning  Relationship building takes time  Masters as ‘degrees with a purpose’
    14. 14. Policy themes  Extend the evidence base around progression from UG to PGT  Monitor changes in demand for and supply of PGT  Research Masters level career trajectories  Balance of local, regional and national (and international) provision of PGT
    15. 15. Thank you Contact Jane Artess on or telephone 0161 277 5208