Higher Education and Employment

Published: 2021-07-01 06:08:03
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Category: University, Data, Interview, Higher Education

Type of paper: Essay

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I am going to explore to what extent does attending university (higher education) have an impact on the graduate's employability. There are three sub research questions I will be focusing on. Firstly, I will be analysing the benefits and problems there are of going onto university in the hope of increasing employability. In order, to do this I will be identifying the relevant corpus of academic and policy related literature and documentation concerning university and employability.
The reason for this is that it is vital to realise that it's still important to assess existing knowledge that's associated with education and compare it with my research. Secondly, I will be focusing on to what extent has investing in a degree and other financial costs such as accommodation for example with going onto university has achieved the desired outcome for degree graduates. To find out this information, I will be looking at degree graduates, and how they believe their employability has affected their employability.
Finally, I will be looking at how 18 years not going onto HE, to what extent has that helped their desired outcome. I am now going to briefly explain the structure of my report. I will now provide a critical literature review analysing policy documents and academic literature and review what others have done. This will show how my research fits in with what others have done about my subject. This is my first research objective as I've mentioned earlier. I will then explain my research project and methodology used to gather and analyse data. After, I have decided my methodological approach; I will then report my research results.

I will undertake a critical analysis of public perceptions and carry out a small study, and provide evidence in my appendix to verify my research results. I will then discuss my findings in a critical manner and relate my results back to the literature material. In my ethical form under proposed methodology, I mentioned that I would find out information by not only questionnaires and face-to-face interviews, but also surveys. I have decided not to do surveys and face-to-face interviews the reason being is that it is very difficult to access surveys associated to my area of study.
Moreover, the time and money spent on getting this information would hinder time being spent on my study. Therefore, as a result I have decided to exclude the use of surveys in my research. I am not doing face-to-face interviews because of the availability of time for other students to be available to answer questions. In order, to resolve this problem I am going to add open-ended questions in my questionnaire to get insight. Progressing onto university (higher education) can greatly enhance wherever you want to go in the future.
The reason for this is, that it illustrates to employers the ability to acquire information in a specialised subject. (Directgov. 2005. ' The benefits of higher education' [online] Available from http://www. direct. gov. uk/en/EducationAndLearning/UniversityAndHigherEducation/index. htm [Accessed 3 Jan 2007]) Therefore, this stands to reason graduates coming out of university and entering employment will have higher earning potential to those who don't go on to higher education. However, in a report in the telegraph it stated that a third of university graduates are in jobs that do not require a degree in 2004-05.
This brings out the question; does it really enhance career prospects? In the same article, Boris Johnson says about a degree. 'It is a wonderful thing to have irrespective of the kind of job you are doing. ' I am very critical of this statement because the main reason of going into higher education is to enhance your career. What is the point of attaining a degree, if it doesn't? (Smith. H {25th July 2006} 'Third of graduates in non-graduate jobs' Telegraph [online] Available from http://www. telegraph. co. uk/news/main. jhtml? xml=/news/2006/07/23/nuni. xml Accessed 17th December 2006]) Is it right from degree graduates to find difficulty in finding graduate jobs and fall into 'non-graduate jobs'?
In which they could of entered prior going to university and without the associated financial costs? I aim to find out the value of a degree in the economic market and whether it is actually worth it considering the New Labour's target of 50% for 18-25 year olds to enter HE. The more graduates flooding the market, the less graduate jobs would be available? There are contrasting views of going into higher education.
The article written by Directgov provides a biased view of higher education, in my opinion. The reason being is that Directgov is a site produced by the Central office of Information, associated with the government. As a result, it will would emphasis the benefits of the HE, and they would do this to reach their target of 50%. In contrast, to the telegraph newspaper, there could be a tendency to over exaggerate words and statistics, in order to engage the ready and boost sales. I have chosen this topic of research as education as it affects not only me but also people around me.
I am investing my time and money in a degree in the hope of attaining a qualification, which will enhance my career prospects, but in the current climate, it may not. Therefore, which is the best route for a successful career (a graduate/non-graduate) and does it matter? I will explore and come up with conclusions to these questions later on in my report, by collecting and analysing information. I will be gathering both quantitative and qualitative data. Quantitative data is data in which can be categorised and have a numerical relationship.
Whereas, qualitative data the information can't be categorised numerically, the data type is unstructured and may involve long sentences. (Becker S and Bryman A. 2004. 'Understanding research for social policy and practise' pp 403-4) Quantitative research illustrates indicators to act as a measure that can stand for a point. Therefore, it can show relationships between variables (independent and dependent. ) For example, if the taxes are increased these would mean that there would be more financial muscle for public services.
The questionnaires that the people fill in will help provide this type of information and to show correlations between variables. In contrast, to qualitative data where the main aim is to understand people's beliefs, values and behaviour. The qualitative data I will gain from face to face interviews will help me to explain the quantitative data. (Becker S and Bryman A. 2004. 'Understanding research for social policy and practise' pp 92-7) I am going to ask ten people who are graduates and that are a non-graduate on their views on higher education.
This will aid me into find finding some conclusions on this issue. There is a different questionnaire for graduates and non-graduates . The questionnaires are available in the appendix. Prior to giving out my questionnaires I had to pre test these questions to check that they are as clear as possible. I did this by asking the general public on their views and amending any necessary faults in the questions. I have to reassure the sample of respondents that I will not disclose any personal details and that the research details will remain confidential.
In my questionnaire, I didn't ask for their name, as I see that it is of no relevant to the study. I am now going to discuss the results I have discovered in my research. In the first section of the questionnaire, I have included a question about the respondent's ethnicity. In my opinion, this is a question worth asking, because of evidence being illustrated that there is a trend. Gary Craig, professor of Social Justice in 2002, interviewed 16-18 year olds about their experiences of not being in education. '
Of the 64 young people interviewed, 41 were of African- Caribbean, Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin. Craig G and Britton L. 2002. 'Missing connexions'? Bristol/York: The policy press 4 (2) p. 39-41) This is backed up by my research as, only 10% of the university graduates I interviewed were black. Despite, the figures the research done by Gary Craig, can't be completely related to my research as he interviewed the 16-18 year old category. Despite, Gary Craig focusing on a different age category to me (18 and onwards), the issue of the high number of African Caribbean not going onto HE, in comparison to other ethnic groups, stems from an early age.
An article in the Times shows that only 27% of African- Caribbean achieve five or more GCSEs at grades A*-C. (Baldwin T. {13 March 2005} ' It's not race that keeps black boys back' The Times [online] also available from http://www. timesonline. co. uk/tol/comment/article426390. ece [Accessed 2nd January 2008]) In the same article it is mentioned that Trevor Phillips the chairman of the commission for racial equality. He did an experiment and found that black boys performed 12% better from all different races. This has sure to raises eyebrows with comprehensive secondary schools.
In 1956, labour politician Anthony Crosland, introduced the idea that the pupils in secondary schools be streamed into separate classes according to their academic ability. ' In my opinion, with the influence of Trevor Phillips's findings, I think we should question the way the pupil are 'streamed. ' (Alcock P. 2003 ' Social Policy in Britain,' Second edition pp. 44-5) The reasons why graduates decided to go to university were to increase their chances of employability, higher earning potential and enhance personal development, as I expected.
Whereas, the non-graduates suggested that they didn't have the discipline and motivation to stay in education any further. They also felt that they weren't getting anything out of the years they had stayed in education before they left. In 2006, a study from the department for education and skills (DfES) found that the earnings between graduates and being educated at A Level is 45%. (Prospects Career Service Desk. ' How do graduates and non-graduates salaries compare? ' Available at http://www. prospects. ac. k/cms/ShowPage/Home_page/Main_menu___Research/Labour_market_information/Labour_market_FAQs/How_do_graduate_and_non_graduate_salaries_compare_/p! elkFpLg;jsessionid=a630e2bd2c3b6b3225f1 [Accessed 2nd January]) The public perception of the benefits of going onto HE still remains and is clearly shown in my research. In the second question, I asked the respondent's to answer on a scale of 1-10 to answer how had a university degree helped their career. The mean answer yielded a value of 8. 7, in comparison to the non-graduates with a value of 4. 5. This shows that the public are aware of the benefits and importance of HE.
The reasons included that the graduates felt they took their education as far as they can, to enable them with to have the best opportunities as possible. One candidate actually mentioned Labour's government target of 50% of 18-25 year olds going into HE, which meant the value of a degree, is still invaluable. In contrast, to the non-graduates they stated that since they didn't follow through with education, they were left with limited opportunities that have affected their career. 60% of the candidates mentioned that they were always going to be second best to those who gone into HE.
Despite, all the benefits of going into HE, in the current climate it is difficult to find jobs for graduates. In the article, in the telegraph it mentioned that over a third of graduates were in jobs in which they couldn't see the benefits of being a graduate in the first place. (Smith. H {25th July 2006} 'Third of graduates in non-graduate jobs' Telegraph [online] Available from http://www. telegraph. co. uk/news/main. jhtml? xml=/news/2006/07/23/nuni. xml [Accessed 17th December 2006]). My research illustrates this point as only 40% of the graduates felt that they have been helped with investing in HE.
The remaining felt that their university degree hasn't helped them as yet, but will do in the long run. The graduates have faith with the opportunities of HE, despite being in a current role, in which they couldn't see the benefits of HE. 95% of the total respondents would recommend an 18 year old to enter HE. The graduates felt that it is essential for personal development, two candidates mentioned ' to find yourself. ' Going onto university does have many benefits, like expanding you social scene, broadening horizons and learning more about the world we live in.
These benefits help graduates in choosing the right and suitable path they want to go in terms of a job, because of the job prospects. In my opinion and my research shows this is that HE is important in the economic market. The literature documents I have used, doesn't mention the class of students who got 1st, 2. 1 etc. This could explain why graduates were in ' non-graduate' jobs. The research they have provided could have been more extensively. As we all know, the majority of university students are not going to get 1st class degree, as a result, they may not get their desire job.
The job market has become such a competitive, as more and more students are going into HE. Therefore, it is becoming increasing likely that graduate jobs are going to be offered to those who have graduated with a 1st class from a top university. This raises the issue, why is the government raising the tuition fees and still wants people to go into HE? Is it right for someone who is attending university with the exception of Oxford pay the same fees? These are issues, which still need to be considered, because of university league tables.
The university league tables have enabled employers to judge how well universities are doing. Therefore, is it right that the university which is last in the table be paying the same fees as the university at the top, whilst the job opportunities would be reduced? This area is very broad and brings about different questions, which still need to be looked. When New Labour took over they said their priorities is 'education education education. ' Blair was quoted, as saying he wants to still 'technocratic values,' in which he wants the country to be as educated as possible, which in turn would have a positive effect on the economy.
To what extent does attending university have an effect on the graduate's employability? From my research, I have gathered that HE does help you in terms of employability, to what extent? It depends on the individual, if they are attending at a good university and enter the job market with a good class degree. There is no reason that the HE, can increase employability and the individual's career. The full extensive benefits of HE can be seen, if the individual makes use of this education to the best of their ability. It all depends on the individual.

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