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
- 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.