Study not tuned to jobs say agen­cies

Central Leader - - NEWS -

Em­ploy­ment agen­cies say many ter­tiary stu­dents are fail­ing to choose study that will lead to vi­able job op­tions, and many will leave un­sure of job prospects, heav­ily in­debted, and with lit­tle clue about what next.

Man­power NZ re­cruit­ment gen­eral man­ager Matthew Love-Smith says grad­u­ates are fail­ing to shape their study to the de­mands of the job mar­ket, and need to make de­ci­sions early on about where they want study to take them.

‘‘Stu­dents work­ing through the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem need to be re­ally well in­formed about what the needs are of the New Zealand in­dus­try, and tai­lor­ing their ed­u­ca­tion to­wards that. That de­ci­sion mak­ing needs to hap­pen way be­fore var­sity,’’ he says.

‘‘When we look at the top 10 skills in de­mand, they tend to be engineering, skilled trades, tech­ni­cians,’’ he says, but less than 5 per cent of grad­u­ates will be in engineering.

Univer­sity of Can­ter­bury’s most re­cent sur­vey on grad­u­ate des­ti­na­tions found 70 per cent of qual­i­fied stu­dents walked into some kind of em­ploy­ment.

But while al­most three­quar­ters said they chose a course of study be­cause they wanted to pur­sue a ca­reer in the field, less than half of the em­ployed worked in their ideal ca­reer.

A third felt they were tak­ing a step in the right di­rec­tion, and one in five were tread­ing wa­ter, in em­ploy­ment that they felt was ir­rel­e­vant to their de­sired ca­reer.

Those grad­u­at­ing in the cre­ative arts had a par­tic­u­larly hard road ahead. Of those who stud­ied vis­ual or per­for­mance arts, just a quar­ter had found full time work a year af­ter grad­u­at­ing, and more than a quar­ter were un­em­ployed.

For those seek­ing arts ca­reers, com­pe­ti­tion is high: ac­cord­ing to Ca­reers NZ, there were just 166 his­to­ri­ans em­ployed in 2012, along with 261 ac­tors, and 105 film di­rec­tors.

A 2011 Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion study found only two-thirds of doc­tor­ate stu­dents would be em­ployed in New Zealand four years af­ter com­plet­ing their qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

Doc­tor­ate stu­dents did, how­ever, have a me­dian in­come 50 per cent higher than those with a bach­e­lor’s de­gree. Those grad­u­at­ing this week are likely to earn more than their peers who do not hold a qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

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