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
Masters with a Purpose
HECSU and CFE
2014, Woburn House Conference Centre, London.
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
Identification of gaps in information and
possible areas for improvement
Analysis of available data
Identification of best practice
Survey of selected employers
Reporting and making
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%
Source: Destinations of Leavers from HE, HESA.
Source: Destinations of Leavers from HE, HESA.
Maths and IT Engineering Social science
Humanities Creative arts
2011/12 73.3% 77.2% 65.7% 78.6% 90.1% 86.4% 71.8% 79.8% 62.6%
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
Anglia Ruskin – working with employer advisory groups to consult with
range of employers on curriculum change.
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
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.”
University-business collaboration on PGT is
diverse and flourishing
Employers’ needs for Masters graduates are
linked to their requirements for specific skills
Depends on historic subject-career
No discrete Masters labour market
Need to be able to articulate value
Outcomes do not form consistent patterns
Conclusions and Recommendations
Explore how collaboration on PGT meets
Recognise the need for robust information
on PGT course outcomes (and advice)
Share good practice
Sandwich Masters to develop application of
Relationship building takes time
Masters as ‘degrees with a purpose’
Extend the evidence base around
progression from UG to PGT
Monitor changes in demand for and supply
Research Masters level career trajectories
Balance of local, regional and national (and
international) provision of PGT
Jane Artess on firstname.lastname@example.org
or telephone 0161 277 5208