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Facilitated by: Dr Daria Luchinskaya and Dr Tracy Scurry who are the co-convenors of the Employability, Enterprise And Work-Based Learning Network. For more details about the network convenors and its activities, please click here.


Recent decades have seen growing interest in the quality of employment available to citizens, with decent work for all being one of the objectives outlined in the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals developed by the United Nations. Consequently, this has generated debate about how we define job quality, with the literature indicating that this is a multi-faceted concept and relates to those features of a person’s work that influence their wellbeing. In the UK, job quality is considered to consist of eighteen indicators covering seven broad dimensions. Despite this, earnings is the only recognised job quality indicator used when assessing the graduate labour market. The other outcome that is often drawn upon (whether or not a graduate moves into ‘highly skilled’ employment) is generated using occupation type and is not in itself an indicator of job quality. The purpose of this webinar will be to firstly highlight how earnings are not particularly well correlated with wellbeing for recent graduates. This will be followed by the presentation of a new composite measure for one of the seven components of employment quality – the ‘job design and nature of work’. This is non-financial in nature and encompasses features of work such as the extent to which it provides a sense of purpose, utilises the individual’s skills and offers progression opportunities. We shall illustrate how the composite variable has a positive association with wellbeing, before demonstrating how the measure can complement current statistics produced on graduate labour market outcomes.

Key objectives:

  1.  Comments on the research

Firstly, it would be helpful to hear the thoughts of/questions from attendees on the research.

  1. What types of statistics/research would they like HESA to publish in relation to the ‘job design and nature of work’ measure in future and why

HESA is keen to ensure that they evolve their official statistics publications, so that they remain informative to our data users (e.g. policymakers, providers, academic researchers, employers, graduates etc).

Consequently, HESA is looking at how they can most effectively incorporate this measure into their bulletins and open data.

Alternatively, there may be some further questions that HESA could usefully explore through an in-depth piece of research.

Views on this would therefore be much appreciated.

  1. What other indicators of job quality should HESA look to collect through the Graduate Outcomes survey to help expand data published on employment outcomes

The three questions HESA uses to form the measure were new additions to the Graduate Outcomes questionnaire.

In upcoming months/years, HESA will be examining the feasibility of introducing alternative job quality questions into the survey to continue building their understanding of this matter.

Given the range of job quality indicators available, HESA would value opinions on what would be the best areas to focus on next and why.

Speaker bios

Tej Nathwani is a researcher at the Higher Education Statistics Agency. Since joining in 2016, he has led the establishment of a research function within the organisation. The purpose of this activity is to generate outputs that support key stakeholders (e.g. students, employers and policymakers) in their decision making, as well as to ensure official statistics on higher education remain relevant and valuable to data users. Current areas of work include job quality and the development of a new UK-wide area-based measure of deprivation.

Ghislaine Dell is Head of Careers at the University of Bath and is a member of AGCAS’ (Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services) Research and Knowledge Committee. She has a long-standing interest in data and evidence-based careers practice, and is spearheading Bath’s use of Careers Registration and Careers Engagement data to shape careers provision. Accurate and meaningful information to support students’ career choices, particularly in the area of ‘good work’, are close to her heart. Current interests include the area of ‘positive impact’ and how this can be reflected better in datasets such as HESA’s.

A recording of this session can be accessed by clicking here.

January 30th, 2024 from  1:00 PM to  2:00 PM
Online event - link will be provided
Resource 1 Tej_Nathwani.pdf
Resource 2 Ghislaine_Dell_discussant_response.pdf
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