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CONTINUITY AND CHANGE IN THE GRADUATE LABOUR MARKET - A PILOT STUDY WITH EVIDENCE FROM 2003 COHORT OF STRATHCLYDE UNIVERSITY

CONTINUITY AND CHANGE IN THE GRADUATE LABOUR MARKET - A PILOT STUDY WITH EVIDENCE FROM 2003 COHORT OF STRATHCLYDE UNIVERSITY,Shiona Chillas

CONTINUITY AND CHANGE IN THE GRADUATE LABOUR MARKET - A PILOT STUDY WITH EVIDENCE FROM 2003 COHORT OF STRATHCLYDE UNIVERSITY  
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This paper is based on a pilot study of the graduate labour market (GLM), designed to inform a CASE studentship PhD on the work content of graduate jobs. The pilot sought to explore labour market outcomes for graduates given the increasingly associated range of contentious policy and theoretical issues. In particular, the possibility that there is a lack of fit between increased supply and decreased demand for "graduate jobs" has received considerable attention. For example, some believe that graduates may be colonising occupations previously held by non-graduates, suggesting that a reconfiguration of the graduate labour market may be required. Clearly, this is an area for further research, requiring examination of the existing literature and the provision of new data on graduate experiences in the labour market. The objectives of the pilot were twofold. Firstly, to explore the occupations that graduates are in, by way of a survey distributed to the 2003 cohort from Strathclyde University. Secondly the pilot sought to clarify the territories of debate and potential factors of influence that guide the literature on the GLM. Conceptualisations of the GLM hinge on how the term "graduate job" is defined and on some form of demarcation between a graduate and non- graduate job. Contention, however, arises over where boundaries are set. The literature review and data analysis primarily considered the major existing model of the GLM, developed by Elias and Purcell (2004), SOC(HE). The model was then mapped with reference to other literature on the GLM, such as professionals, earnings, employability and skills and knowledge use. A preliminary argument for setting boundaries in the graduate labour market is presented, based on the dual themes of continuity and change: continuity based on a traditional view of graduate occupations and change represented by occupations that graduates are increasingly entering. In terms of empirical boundaries the unit of analysis for the pilot was primarily at the level of occupation. However the data collected suggested that the individual should also be a focus. It argues that identifying potential mismatches in GLM is incomplete without consideration of individual and group differences amongst graduates.
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