UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK
For the meeting of the Equality and Diversity Committee to be held on 2 February 2009
Report from the Careers Centre on Graduate Destination Data and Equality and
Diversity Practices in Careers and Employability Work
The October 2007 meeting of Equality and Diversity Committee received a paper
from the Careers Centre giving an overview of analysis of our most recent graduate
destination data, placing this in the context of the overall UK graduate labour market,
as well as looking at how the Careers Centre addresses equality and diversity issues
in its service provision.
The committee resolved to receive a similar report on an annual basis reviewing the
most recent data and monitoring trends that might require further exploration and
2. Graduate Destination Data
The data is drawn from the annual collection of the ‘Destinations of Leavers from
Higher Education’ (DLHE) survey. The Careers Centre has a statutory obligation to
collect information on the initial careers of graduates and postgraduates 6 months
after graduation. These statistics are compiled and analysed to form the DLHE return
to the Higher Education Statistical Agency (HESA). The DLHE 2006/07 survey from
which data in this paper is drawn covers students who graduated from undergraduate
courses in the summer of 2007, and from postgraduate courses during the academic
The research process is tightly prescribed by HESA so that our data is comparable to
that of other institutions in the UK. The data is used widely within the institution and
nationally. However, the reliability of the data in really understanding the position of
our graduates within the labour market is questionable. The destinations of
graduates only 6 months out of university do not necessarily reflect longer term
career success, and is only a crude measure of employability. Research suggests a
protracted transition of 3-5 years to a graduate career is the norm.1
As reported last year, HESA have now introduced a biannual longitudinal follow up
survey and we have analysed the responses to the first wave of this. However,
numbers were too small for the data to yield any conclusions on equality and
3. The National Picture
It is worth reiterating some comments made last year on the national graduate labour
market. Jobs for graduates no longer form a clearly distinct element of the overall
labour market, and as part of a whole, data will reflect inequalities based on factors
such as previous educational choices as well as direct and indirect discrimination.
Headline statistics referring to graduates only are not easily available: for example
recent press coverage on the impact of the recession has drawn on data from
members of the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) who represent large
Seven years on: Graduate Careers in a Changing Labour Market, HECSU, 2004
employers with distinct graduate entry programmes: in reality only a proportion of the
overall employers of graduates. The research into early graduate careers conducted
by Professors Elias and Purcell of Warwick’s own Institute for Employment Research
has highlighted some issues of concern with regard to gender. For example, a 10%
gender pay gap in early career is noted, even after adjusting for differences in
educational background and career choice. 2
The situation for graduates with disabilities is reviewed annually by the relevant
grouping within the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services, and the
latest report shows an improving situation, with the overall difference in
unemployment rates between disabled and non-disabled graduates shrinking year on
year (now standing at 8.7% of disabled graduates and 6.2% of non disabled
graduates). 3 Sector wide analysis by ethnicity is skewed by huge fluctuations in
proportions of UK minority ethnic students across institutions, with a high proportion
of non-white UK nationals HE studying in London based institutions.
4. Warwick’s Graduate Destination Data
4.1 Tracking rates of Unemployment
Turning to the Warwick data, a useful first stage in checking for inequalities is to look
across the categories at rates of unemployment. The gap between male and female
respondents unemployed has closed slightly on the previous year (see table 1). As
with last year, women were slightly more likely to respond that they were engaged in
voluntary work or combining work and study.
Male 5% 6%
Female 2.8% 4.3%
Table 1: % of respondents unemployed by gender
Last year respondents with disabilities had a lower unemployment rate than those
without by 1% but this year the situation has switched and disabled graduates had a
slightly higher rate of unemployment than those without a disability (5.8% and 5.2%
respectively). Small numbers make it hard to draw conclusions from this but we will
keep it under review. Unemployment does seem to be slightly higher amongst UK
national respondents from minority ethnic groups, but with different patterns from the
previous year resulting from small cohorts (for example, last year’s peak of 20% for
Bangladeshis is down to 0% this year). The only group with above average
unemployment over the 2 years is 14% for black Africans although this is down to
7.7% from 13.8% last year.
A key factor in how this data is used in commercial league tables draws conclusions
about the nature of work, classifying it as non-graduate, graduate track or graduate.
We do not have adequate salary data for reporting purposes, hence we are unable to
analyse whether the gender pay gap is replicated in our own graduates. The nearest
approximation is to look at a breakdown of those employed by graduate or non
graduate job. The data shows a better picture overall but a slight rise in the
difference between men and women (see table 2). However this could be accounted
Moving On: Graduate Careers Three Years after Graduation, HECSU, 1999
What happened next? A Report on the First Destinations of 2006 Disabled Graduates”
AGCAS disability task group, 2008
for by factors such as educational history, career choice or job seeking behaviour. In
some career areas, particularly those we know attract more liberal arts students, a
non graduate job is a valid first step in a career building strategy. Looking at tables 1
and 2 together it seems that women are perhaps more likely to accept
underemployment than be unemployed.
Male 82.8% 86.7%
Female 80.2% 82.4%
Table 1: % of respondents in ‘graduate jobs’ by gender
For students with disabilities, last year we reported that employed respondents with
declared disabilities slightly more likely than those without to be in a graduate job.
This year, however graduates with a disability were less likely to be in graduate roles
(78.6%) than those without a disability (84.7%). A new partnership with Remploy
may help to address this (see section 6).
Data based on ethnicity is hard to analyse due to the mix of international and UK
national students; with many of the former seeking to enter non-UK labour markets
where they are not necessarily from an ethnic minority. We have looked at data from
UK national respondents by ethnicity and identified that for some ethnic groups there
has been a drop in the percentage in graduate level employment to below average.
However, due to small numbers others have risen dramatically (e.g. Bangladeshi up
47.5% to 87.5%). The Careers Centre is considering an appropriate response to
this, beginning with looking at increasing interventions in departments with the
highest proportion of the relevant ethnicities.
5. Careers Centre Usage Statistics
As well as looking at destinations data, this year we have analysed usage of our one-
to-one services for academic year 2007/08 in relation to equality and diversity, using
our contact management system and the Student Records System. We can report
the following findings:
The Academic Statistics 2007 report the gender split of the student body to be 50/50.
Usage of Careers’ one-to-one services is split between 45% male and 55% female
Looking at the usage of services by students who report a disability, we can see that
usage is disproportionately high when compared with the general population.
Careers Consultants saw 26 of the 29 students with autistics spectrum disorders
(90%) and 9 of the 11 hearing impaired students (82%). Other categories of
disability have usage rates ranging between 50% and 70%. Usage by the general
population is around 30% of the student body.
5.3 Ethnic origin
Disproportionately high usage of services is made by Home / EU students of non-
white ethnic origin. For instance, Hone/EU students with an Indian ethnic
background make up 5.7% of the student body but represent 8.5% of the Careers
Centre’ clients. Conversely, White British students make up 61.2% of the student
population, but represent only 54.7% of our clients.
5.4 Social class
Our analysis was inconclusive, as there are a high number of students in the “not
5.5 Student status
Careers Consultants see 24% of the Home / EU student population, and 27% of the
Overseas student population.
83% of the students seen by Careers Consultants are aged 24 or under, with 17%
being aged 25 or over. 3.7% are aged 30 or over. Unfortunately our current systems
make it impossible to compare this data with the age profile of the student population.
This analysis reassures us that our services are accessible to those who may
experience disadvantage in the job market, and suggests that they are being
particularly proactive in their career planning.
6. Careers Centre Equality and Diversity Work
Monitoring trends in data, which represents a snapshot at best and is influenced by a
range of factors outside of our control, must be complemented by a positive
approach to equality and diversity in developing students’ employability and providing
support for their career development.
As we reported last year, our experience has shown a mixed response to
programmes for specific minority groups. Students with disabilities, in particular,
have not responded well in the past to being treated as a coherent group with
specific additional needs, and a variability of approach with individuals is more
appropriate. Accordingly, the Careers Centre’s approach has been one of:
Auditing provision for potential discriminatory practices
Ensuring all staff are confident addressing equality issues in one-to-one
interactions with students and working in an anti-discriminatory way
Working with employers to ensure legislative compliance and support their
initiatives to recruit a more diverse workforce.
Specific activities have included working with Remploy who deliver individual and
group sessions for students and graduates with disabilities and refining the delivery
of information for diversity groups via our website. Staff have taken part in the on line
equality and diversity modules and continuing professional development activities
have included attending a Dyslexia workshop for staff at Warwick and purchasing
new resources on working with students with Aspergers Syndrome. We also work
proactively with other campus agencies in this area, particularly the Disability Office,
and are contributing to initiatives such as the Pathways to Law project and
Multicultural Scholarship Programme.
We are particularly aware of the importance of gaining work experience whilst
studying to success in the graduate job market, and to this end have offered small
bursaries to support unpaid work experience through our HEIF funded Work
Experience Project. Last year we moved onto our third tranche of funding for this
work and made the diversity element more explicit, so have begun by benchmarking
levels of participation across diversity groups. Through this project we are also
supporting an International Women’s Day event with a career planning angle being
organised through the Centre for Women and Gender.
Anecdotally, from our work many of us observe that socio-economic background is
the biggest variable in a students’ approach to the job market, often affecting
occupational awareness, networking skills, access to work experience and
confidence. To this end we are working with Student Recruitment and Admissions
Office colleagues on contributing to the revision of the Widening Participation
Strategy to ensure that we enable all students from WP backgrounds accessing to
Warwick to maximise the benefit from that by enhancing their employability.
7. Recommendations to Equality and Diversity Committee
The Careers Centre propose to continue to submit annual reports based on a
comparable level of analysis, reporting key trends, and take questions from the
Acting Director, Careers and Employability