Monday, November 15, 2010

Employment of Graduates

Survey results contested.

4 comments:

Kirk said...

"within 30 months of graduation"

Seriously? That's what they measure? I'd want to see numbers within 3-6 months of graduation.

Anonymous said...

@Kirk, it's even worse than that : the 77% or 90% (or whatever) who are "employed" 3 years after graduating aren't likely to have a "real" job. The stats only show whether they found *anything*. Including at minimum wage, unskilled, or part-time.

On Thursday they had a special report about university graduates. They chose a highly selective Master's program in an in-demand field (economic strategy). The program boasts a wonderful 95% job placement rate. The journalists were looking for young people who had graduated about 18months ago and were employed so that program seemed like a good choice (I guess the assumption was that at graduation+ 6 months it'd be normal if they found few of those).
In the end, they interviewed 5 young people who'd graduated from that program in 2009: NONE had a career-track job and certainly not a job anywhere near their level of qualification. One was a part-time waitress, one watched kids during recess, one was folding sheets and cleaning bathrooms - that last one: a success story according to the program stats since he had a full time job AND a CDI contract!

The graduates' resumes were presented to a professional head hunter/job coach who stated that with such qualifications, there should be no problem for them to find a job... the "coach" indicated the sole cause for rejecting such resumes had to be lack of connections. (Cue in the "Prince Jean" syndrom). We saw the graduates' families: perfectly middle class, far from poor, just not linked to HR services, shareholders, or executives.
When the program director, proud of his %, was told his graduates were working in jobs usually meant (at best) for high school graduates, he just shrugged and said those were jobs. A PR guy for the university blamed the non-selectivity at bac level, which was totally beside the point since the graduates came from a highly selective Master's program and in the end seemed to say it was normal (they had no connections, what do you expect?)
Cut to the "coach" who bemoaned the colossal loss to society that placing highly qualified young people into unskilled positions represents.

In a nutshell, Kirk: not only are the students in the stats unemployed for about 2 and a half years after graduating with a Master's degree, but the stats don't indicate whether they found a position in relation to what they studied (i.e., probably not).
If the stats were "How many graduates with a BA or BS have a job related to their studies 1 year after graduation", the results would be abysmal.

On the other hand, it's easy to understand why French students can't be asked to pay for tuition. The expectation, when you pay for your education, is that you'll get a return....

MYOS

Kirk said...

I can't help but wonder how much of this is cultural, the fact that most French students never have jobs at all until they graduate.

I grew up in NYC, and started working delivering a newspaper on Sundays at 12. When I was about 14, I got a number of part time jobs after school. I never didn't work, in fact.

My son, now 20, had his first job this summer - a one month gig where he did an internship at the end of the school year. (Full pay; not some sleazy contract.) I'm hoping that when he finishes he'll be able to get a job easily, and I'm actually not that worried. He's studying web design, and is very competent, having learned most of what he knows on his own. In fact, he's not learned much in the IUT where he's studying, because the level isn't very high. Others who will graduate will have nowhere near the skills he has, but the big difference is that he's self-taught, so should have a better chance.

At least I hope so. I hope he doesn't end up back at home for those 30 months...

Passerby said...

% of employement after gradutation seems like a relatively interesting measure to me. It's already part of most of the rankings of international business schools. Of course, it certainly cannot be the ONLY one. And surveyed students should probably answer 2 other questions: "Is your current job related to your field of study?", Is your current job related to the field you wanted to work in, before graduating?"

Reading the link, I found the student representative's reaction flabbergasting. Any stat tracking students employability after graduation is, to me, an important information to help the students choose their field. From a pragmatic stands point, who cares if a local university closes if it cannot help it students achieving their goals?

Whenever there is a student protest, you hear people saying I'm BAC+4/BAC+6//BAC+X, and I don't have a job. Each time I can't help think: "in what?". If the person's thesis was on "Chevaliers paysans de l'an mil au lac de Paladru", despite the academic value of the work, finding a related job will be tough. Even for a teaching job, particularly if there are 200 history post-grads looking for a similar job at the same time.