Survey of Science and Agriculture Graduates 2004

NIHERST has released the report on the Survey of Science and Agriculture Graduates, 2004. This tracer study provides data on the demographic and social characteristics of a representative sample of UWI graduates over the period, 1999-2003.

Key indicators of employment opportunities, job satisfaction, relevance of academic qualification, job mobility, migration and under-employment are also presented in the various tabulations and graphics of the publication.

The results of the study are intended to assist researchers, policy-makers, educators and academicians engaged in curriculum reform and development.

Summary of Main Findings

Data Highlights
  • Of the sample of Science and Agriculture graduates surveyed (440), 332 or 75% responded and of these109 (33%) were males and 223 (67%) were females, representing a ratio of 1 male to 2 females.
  • Females out-numbered their male counterparts significantly in all areas of specialisation except Computer Science.
  • The most popular areas of specialisation among the graduates were Chemistry (21%) and Computer Science (21%).
  • The majority of males (37%) majored in Computer Science while females (23%) opted for Chemistry.
  • Twelve percent (12%) of the graduates had migrated.
  • A job mobility rate of 46% was observed; this was most significant amongst Chemistry and least amongst Mathematics majors.
  • As at 1st March, 2004, the unemployment rate of 6% amongst the graduates was below the national figure of 10.2% for the 1st quarter, 2004.
  • A substantial percentage (64%) of the majors had obtained employment within the same year of graduation.
  • Public agencies provided approximately 60% of the graduates with their first job opportunities while the private sector absorbed 40%.
  • A significant proportion (45%) of the faculty's graduates reported gross monthly incomes of under $4,000 in their first jobs. However, the modal income of males was $4,000-$5,999 compared with less than $4,000 for females.
  • Approximately one third of all majors (36%) indicated that their first employment was less than 50% related to their area of specialisation.
  • Most majors (46%) indicated that the subject area of specialization was the main reason for their job recruitment.
  • Over one third of the graduates gave a medium rating to 'theory content' (43%), 'laboratory content' (36%), 'project work' (39%) and 'research work' (38%) as components of university education that contributed to their ability to cope with their jobs. 'Guidance from lecturers' (43%) and 'computer training' (37%) received a low rating.
  • Data on the components of job satisfaction reflected high rating in both 'interesting work' and 'job security', while 'income', 'working conditions' and 'career advancement' received medium rating by the graduates.
  • Of the response from the 332 Science and Agriculture majors who graduated with a first degree between 1999-2003, 14% had obtained post-graduate qualifications mainly at the M.Sc. level (74%) in Agricultural sciences, Botany, Zoology and Chemistry.
  • The survey data also indicate that 34% of the majors were pursuing post-graduate studies, approximately half at the M.Sc. level (48%) and one quarter (24%) at the M.Phil. level.
  • Sixty percent, (60%) of the graduates had obtained or were pursuing post-graduate qualifications in fields similar to their first degrees, 16% were in Social Sciences and 11% in Engineering programmes.