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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.

Precarious pathways into employment? What was the impact of internships and work experience?

In an increasingly competitive youth labour market, young people's early labour market experience has become progressively more protracted, unstable and fragmented. Between education and employment, unwaged work, temporary work and involuntary part-time work have become a more common for job-seekers, whatever their qualifications. As employers demand evidence of 'employability skills', work placements and internships have become an integral part of secondary and higher education and of early labour market experience.

In Futuretrack, we identified the increasing importance of unpaid work, temporary work, work experience placements during courses and after graduation, in students' and graduates' pursuit of career opportunities and the 'employability skills' that graduate employers seek when recruiting. In this major new ESRC-funded project, we are following up a sample of Futuretrack graduates who had experience of these forms of unpaid work and 'precarious employment', also tracking the experiences of young people who did not enter HE, and investigating the perspectives of employers, in an intensive study of employement opportunities in the Midlands in current and recent years. Members of the research team are also comparing young people's transitions from education to employment during previous periods of recession and comapring these, and the policies and practices that facilitated or obstructed then in their job-seeking, with those of young people today. See for more information.

Wed 22 Oct 2014, 13:40 | Tags: Futuretrack, Graduate Labour Market, Employment, Graduate

EHEA Futuretrack graduates -The transferability of (under-) graduate knowledge gained in UK HEIs within the EHEA

A small follow-up research project, funded by the Society for Research into Higher Education, eanbled Drs. Heike Behle and Charoula Tzanakou to undertake secondary data analysis of the existing Futuretrack survey data set and conduct additional interviews with a sub-sample of European mobile graduates (EMGs) to answer the research question: Under which circumstances is the production of knowledge in UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) transferable within the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) in terms of integration into the labour market or further training?

The research aims to: (i) Develop further knowledge of the motivations behind the migration of EMGs, (ii) Map the career development of EMGs of UK HEIs and assess the opportunities and challenges faced by them in accessing the labour market and further study, (iii) Assess the extent to which a gap exists between demand for different employability skills and the development of these skills by EMGs of UK HEIs.

The project was funded between 01/01/2013 - 31/10/2013

For further information, contact Dr Heike Behkle;


Wed 22 Oct 2014, 13:13 | Tags: Futuretrack, Graduate Labour Market, Graduate, HECSU

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