Three quarters of employers ‘require 2:1 degree’

BBC News reports on new gloom for graduate job seekers:

Intense competition for graduate jobs means that more than three quarters of employers require at least a 2:1 degree grade, a survey suggests. The Association of Graduate Recruiters says there are more graduates chasing fewer jobs – with vacancies down by 7%. Applications have soared, with an average of 69 people chasing each graduate job.

AGR commented:

Recruiters are under intense pressure this year dealing with a huge number of applications from graduates for a diminishing pool of jobs. Those of our members who took part in the survey reported a total of 686,660 applications since the beginning of the 2010 recruitment campaign. It is hardly surprising then that the number of employers asking for a 2.1 degree has shot up by 11 percentage points. However, while this approach does aid the sifting process it can rule out promising candidates with the right work skills unnecessarily. We are encouraging our members to look beyond the degree classification when narrowing down the field of candidates to manageable proportions.

Perhaps most concerning here is this figure of 78% of employers filtering out applicants who have not achieved a 2:1 degree. However, as AGR observe, it is a pragmatic response to dealing with large numbers of well-qualified applicants.

Advertisements

Higher ambitions…

New HE Framework

Follow up to earlier post on HE as food-labelling:

Lord Mandelson has launched Higher Ambitions. There’s a lot in here and much of it yet to be fully fleshed out. And the much trailed element on improved consumer information still requires some work:

Higher ambitions

All universities should publish a standard set of information setting out what students can expect in terms of the nature and quality of their programme.

This should set out how and what students will learn, what that knowledge will qualify them to do, whether they will have access to external expertise or experience, how much direct contact there will be with academic staff, what their own study responsibilities will be, what facilities they will have access to, and any opportunities for international experience. It should also offer information about what students on individual courses have done after graduation. The Unistats website will continue to bring together information in a comparable way so that students can make well-informed informed [sic] choices, based on an understanding of the nature of the teaching programme they can expect, and the long-term employment prospects it offers. We will invite HEFCE, the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) and UKCES to work with the sector and advise on how these goals should be achieved.

Hmmm. Should be an interesting consultation.

Higher education as food labelling

Food labelling for university courses

From the BBC website:

School leavers applying to English universities will get more data about courses under government plans to treat them more like consumers. A food labelling-style system will flag up teaching hours, career prospects and seminar frequency, says the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

On Tuesday, it will announce a new framework for higher education. The plan aims to set out priorities for universities ahead of a review of the way students fund their education. Tuition fees were introduced in 1998 and Business Secretary Lord Mandelson believes this entitles students to act more like consumers.

He has said government and industry must scrutinise and monitor courses on behalf of students, encouraging “a greater degree of competition between institutions” to drive improvement in courses. His department already publishes statistics on employability after six months and three-and-a-half years, but the latest plans would put information in one place. This could include graduates’ typical future earnings, contact hours with tutors, assessment methods and frequency of tests.

So instead of detailed descriptions of each course in prospectuses, via ucas, on university websites and the detail of league table subject comparisons, we are going to have something like this:

fsafoodlabels

It really isn’t at all clear how this is going to be in any way an improvement or of real value to prospective students. Consolidating small pieces of information into one place in this way suggests that a much more superficial assessment of quality is the aim here. And how is it going to be decided what is red and what is green?

Let’s hope that the real proposals are a bit better than this implies.

University of Nottingham: Graduate Trainee Programme

The first group of four Graduate Trainees are coming to the end of their year-long programme which has been extremely successful.

seeds

As the advert for the 2009-10 scheme describes it:

The University is delighted to announce the Nottingham Graduate Trainee Programme. This innovative programme, aimed exclusively at University of Nottingham graduates from any of the University campuses interested in developing a career in university administration. It offers an invaluable insight into this dynamic management activity whilst developing an understanding of:

* markets
* income streams
* resource allocation processes
* client bases including students, parents, employers, funding bodies and commercial partners.

The programme offers four trainees the opportunity to experience key components of university operation and build an understanding of the institution’s strategy. Trainees will spend 12 months undertaking a planned rotation of placements in different areas of the University, reporting to senior staff. Placements will be across central services and schools, and trainees may have the opportunity to experience activity at one of the University’s overseas campuses in Malaysia or China.

The evidence from the presentations by each of the trainees on their experiences and the results both for them and the University is extraordinarily positive. They have all done outstandingly well and all four have now secured other posts within Nottingham which really is excellent news.

Comments on some of the outcomes of the programme can be seen in a recent podcast: