Giving change a chance – HESA research findings
On Friday ELBA published our first cut of the analysis we are doing of the employment destinations of graduates in the eight boroughs in which we work. The briefing summary can be found on our website here. This is based on the latest data release from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) for students graduating in 2015/16.
There were 8,000 graduates in our boroughs that year. The majority were female – mirroring the national picture, were BAME and from lower social-economic groups. For all three characteristics, the graduate population was disproportionately higher compared to the resident population. Our graduates have a greater tendency to be female, BAME and from working class background.
The first message we take from this is that any employer who is aiming to recruit the best talent should be looking to see how the characteristics of the graduate intake compare to this profile. Ok, so major employers are recruiting nationally, not just from London, but if there is a big mismatch then you can surmise that they may well be missing out on talent.
In a situation where 15-17% of London’s workforce is derived from EU nationals, who will be difficult to re-recruit in a post-Brexit economy, then this has to be of concern. Then there is a increasing body of evidence which shows that businesses which are more diverse have better bottom line performance. ELBA and London Works are supporting our members to look at how they recruit and to connect them to the brightest talent that east London has to offer. We also work on behalf of graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds who do not have the social capital and networks enjoyed by others so that they can get into jobs and careers that properly reflect their level of qualification.
At the aggregate level, our first cut analysis of the HESA data shows an encouraging picture of equality for our graduates. Women are as likely as men to be in professional level jobs six months after graduation, as are BAME compared to white graduates, as are those from lower social-economic groups compared to the more advantaged. However, looking at the averages is likely to hide other issues. For example, we know from national research that BAME graduates do not earn as much as others – both after graduation and later in their careers; or that young back male graduates are twice as likely to be unemployed.
In the coming weeks we will be delving deeper into the data to unpick the patterns for our graduates. We will be looking for the good news as well as finding issues to be addressed. After all, we believe this generation of young people in east London are extraordinary – arising from the big uplift in educational attainment in east London (and London generally) in the last 10 years or so, and the big increase in higher education participation. They may not fit the bland received profile of a university graduate, and in many ways that should be attractive to employers. Recruit like you have always done, and you will get what you have always got. In the meantime the world outside is changing rapidly – and these new graduates can help you understand that, interpret it and keep you relevant to changing customer expectations. What’s not to love about someone new and a bit different giving everyone a lift?