Survey of Social Sciences Graduates, 2007

In this publication NIHERST presents the results of the Survey of Social Sciences Graduates, 2007. Graduate output from the Faculty of Social Sciences of The University of the West Indies (UWI) has doubled over the period 2001 to 2005 and the faculty accounts for the largest proportion of graduates from the institution.

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 social sciences graduates surveyed (504), 365 or 72% responded, and of these 105 (29%) were males and 260 (71%) were females, representing a male to female ratio of 1 to 2.5.
  • The data show an annual growth in graduate output and the majority of the responding graduates (28%) qualified in 2005.
  • Over the period 2001 to 2005, management studies accounted for the majority (42%) of the graduate output, followed by economics (13%) and sociology (12%).
  • As at January, 2007 the modal age group of the graduates of the five-year period, 2001 to 2005, was 25-29 years.
  • Eleven percent (11%) of the graduates had migrated.
  • Social sciences graduates of the period 2001 to 2005 reported a relatively high rate of employment as at January, 2007. Of all 365 respondents, 93% were employed and 7% were unemployed, of which 4% were classified as students.
  • All the male graduates who participated in the survey were employed compared to 96% in the case of the females.
  • The survey results show that the majority of majors had obtained employment within the same year of graduation.
  • Over a half (53%) of the social sciences graduates reported their first employment after graduation in the Community, social and personal services sector while Financing, insurance and business services absorbed over one-fifth (22%) of the graduates. A similar pattern of employment was observed at the reference period of the survey, January, 2007.
  • A review of the data by gender shows that two-fifths (39%) of the males and half (53%) of the female graduates were employed in the Community, social and personal services sector of which the state is a key employer.
  • Two-fifths (39%) of the graduates who participated in the survey reported gross monthly incomes of under $4000 and one-third (32%) received $4,000-$5,999 in their first jobs.
  • The modal income of the graduates was $6,000 - $7,999 (36%) monthly as at January, 2007 and a similar percentage of the graduates (36%) received incomes of $8,000 and over.
  • The data show that male graduates received higher monthly incomes than their female counterparts in their current jobs; 44% of the males reported gross monthly incomes of $8,000 and over compared to the female graduates (33%).
  • A relatively larger percentage of graduates (46%) indicated that the relevance of university education to their current jobs was within the 75% - 100% range compared to 30% in the case of their first jobs.
  • A half (51%) of all graduates held one job after graduation. Job mobility was most significant amongst psychology, hospitality and tourism management and economics graduates, and least amongst the majors in government.
  • One-third (33%) of the graduates identified income as the reason for job mobility and 27% indicated job satisfaction while security of tenure (14%) received a relatively low rating.
  • A substantial percentage (35%) of the graduates was of the opinion that the area of specialisation was mainly responsible for their job recruitment.
  • A relatively large percentage of graduates gave a low rating to internship placement (66%), guidance from lecturers (45%) and advice from peers (45%) as aspects of university education that contributed to their ability to cope with their jobs. A medium ranking was shown for theory content (45%), project work (39%) and computer training (36%). Research received a similar percentage of medium (35%) and high (36%) rating.
  • Approximately one-half of the graduates indicated that job security (52%) and interesting work (49%) provided a high degree of job satisfaction while a medium rating was shown for income (51%), working conditions (49%) and career advancement (41%).
  • One-tenth (11%) of all social sciences graduates obtained post-graduate qualifications, while two-fifths (40%) were pursuing such qualifications in 2007.
  • Graduates in behavioural studies and accounting showed a relatively higher propensity to further their education. Over fifty percent (50%) of the graduates in social work (67%), psychology (59%), sociology (54%) and accounting (59%) had either obtained or were pursuing post graduate qualifications.
  • The largest proportion of graduates who obtained post-graduate qualifications had majored in government (26%) followed by social work (21%).
  • Most of the post-graduate qualifications obtained (85%) and pursued (82%) were at the master's degree level.
  • At the master's degree level, one-quarter (24%) of the graduates had obtained or was pursuing post-graduate qualifications mainly in the fields of management studies and one-fifth (19%) in behavioural studies.
  • Of the 177 or 49% of the social sciences graduates surveyed who did not pursue post-graduate qualification, 18% stated that funding was the main reason and 17% indicated the intention to do so in the future.