The University recently hosted a dinner with Richard Lambert the new Director-General of the CBI, and CBI members from the Valleys economic community. Many of these “Valley members” were chief executives of manufacturing and service organisations and were particularly concerned about the use of the term “graduate employment”. They were pointing out that in factories and call centres, they had need of highly trained graduates in engineering, science, I.T and business in order to compete in their particular markets. They were concerned that many graduates would be “put-off” applying for these posts because they may not be perceived as “graduate jobs” or “graduate employment”.
So, who decides whether one job is deemed “graduate employment”, but another not? The CBI? The Welsh or UK Governments? A panel of “experts”? or representatives of Skills Councils? None of these. No, the sole arbiter is “The Times”. Interestingly, graduate employment data feeds the Times’ league tables and, unsurprisingly, does not include those jobs that the CBI Valleys industrialists were attempting to attract graduates into.
The data for The Times is collected from each HEI via HESA and although HESA do not report on it, it is provided to The Times – presumably under contract. I sit on the HESA Board and I shall register my concern, re. HESA’s complicity in this matter.
I need no further evidence than to read our own internal Graduate Destination Report. I quote “All our competitors in Wales have seen their scores (graduate employment) drop in the last two years … the exception is Cardiff University”. Clearly Mr Murdoch wishes to reinforce the erroneous belief that only those engaged in public service and business function professions meet the Times’ “graduate employment” criteria. At a time when, key to Wales’ future prosperity are …
1) increasing the share of global private sector markets
2) research and development into new products
I suggest we disregard this rather spurious notion of a “Times graduate” job as an indicator of any substance, whatsoever.