Ten Years On: The Futuretrack Graduates
By this stage of the research, the sample was increasingly skewed towards those who had experienced relative success in terms of career development, although graduates from the full spectrum of 2009-10 graduates continued to participate. Although many had experienced initial difficulties and setbacks on accessing the kinds of jobs they aspired to after graduating into the recessionary labour market the succeeded the 2008-9 banking failures, the majority considered themselves to be in appropriate employment, established in careers and doing work that used, recognised and rewarded their knowledge, skills and qualifications. Mostly in their early 30s, many had embarked or were considering embarked on family-building and around a third already had children. Most were confident about their prospects, although we found a significant proportion working in very different modes of employment to that reported by previous generations, aided by technology, reflecting global employment and client networks and the fragmenting labour market . Slightly more than had been the case in previous generations were in self-employment or in subcontracting and freelance patterns of work. A small minority continued to be handicapped by the initial setbacks, but others who were in ostensibly non-graduate jobs were often in new, poorly-classified occupations or making choices reflecting priorities other than career- or income maximisation.
Two of the most thought-provoking findings, however, were the very wide range of graduate earnings, which primarily reflected differences among sectors of employment and the valued placed on different occupations. Regional inequalities in graduate opportunities also affected the jobs that these graduates had been able to obtain, with the majority of graduate jobs, even more than jobs generally, concentrated in London and the South East, and in the major conurbations. Within different sectors, perhaps the most shocking finding was the persistence of the gender pay gap, which had widened as careers developed and had remained virtually unchanged since the last longitudinal survey the authors had undertaken where they followed a large sample of those who had graduated in 1995. Some occupational areas and sectors of employment have been more resistant to the extension of equal opportunities than others.