PRESS RELEASE (12/07/2021) - Graduate careers - what a difference a year makes (click here for full copy)
A new report reveals the impact of Covid 19 restrictions on mid-career graduates, the persistence of the gender pay gap, and the potential longer-term implications for the nature of the graduate labour market
- The report captures the impact of the pandemic on a national sample of graduate workers in their early thirties, the majority of whom had by 2019 achieved reasonable job security, and many of whom were balancing work and parenting or other caring roles when the pandemic hit.
- The findings reveal how the pandemic has affected mid-career graduates’ working lives and economic security, reshaped their motivations and aspirations, and affected their mental health.
- Experiences of the pandemic have reinforced existing inequalities in terms of access to secure and enjoyable employment.
- The gender pay gap revealed in this study of mid-career graduates is unchanged from that shown in a study undertaken in 2002.
- Working from home creates new potential for discrimination, particularly in access to training and promotion
- Graduates with confidence in their employer’s concern for the welfare of their staff coped better with the challenges of the pandemic
- These graduates had faced a difficult start to their careers thanks to the 2008 recession, with some still scarred by the experience, but many reported that this had made them more resilient to the challenges of Covid. Their experience has implications for graduates now leaving higher education, and for policymakers and employers.
What a difference a year makes: the impact of Covid 19 on graduate careers, captures the impact of the pandemic on a national sample of graduate workers in their early thirties, the majority of whom had by 2019 achieved reasonable job security, and many of whom were balancing work and parenting or other caring roles before the pandemic hit.
The impact of the Covid-19 restrictions and socio-economic effects of the pandemic on the careers of the Futuretrack cohort
The Futuretrack Stage 5 research was conducted in summer and autumn 2019, but as the research team analysed the data collected and began to write the Stage 5 report, employment and social life more broadly were disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. This presented unprecedented challenges to employers and employees as the cohort of graduates who had entered the labour market in the wake of the 2008-9 financial crisis, around ten years after graduation, mainly moved beyond early careers to settled professional employment or self-employment and reached the family-building stage of their lives - over a quarter having already become parents. As we analysed the responses and particularly, the interview accounts given by those we had spoken to, we were aware that respondents ranged from those likely to be at the front line of essential services in healthcare and other areas, to those who had recently become self-employed or who were in precarious employment, or working in sectors where the restrictions were already leading employers to make staff redundant and rationalise their activities in a way likely to increase the vulnerability of employees. it seemed essential to go back to respondents to investigate the impact of these restrictions and economic trends, and allow them to update their accounts of their career development and perceptions of the options available to them.
We are delighted to announce the new stage of the Futuretrack study, which will be catching up with the Futuretrack cohort of students who applied to university in 2005/2006, most of whom graduated in 2009/10, eight to nine years after their graduation. This is the fifth stage of the Futuretrack longitudinal survey, and is funded by the Nuffield Foundation.