Adviser on the Edge

careers in island communities: research, theory and practice

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Older siblings and graduate transitions

How prepared are graduates for entry to the working world? Do expectations meet reality? In my experience the answer almost universally to these questions is not very prepared and that expectations don’t meet reality. I was discussing this with a recent graduate this week over coffee, and we were talking about how to address these issues. What we concluded was that knowing people who graduate before you can be helpful in giving first hand insight into the realities of the working world. Specifically we thought that there could be particular value in having an older sibling who graduates and enters the working world a couple of years before you. I hadn’t really thought about this before, but I guess it’s probably true that the experience of observing the progress of older siblings can be very helpful in understanding your own situation when it comes to preparing for graduation….

This thought came back to me today as I was reading about graduate migration in a paper by Bond, Charsley & Grundy, 2008. In this paper the authors propose three factors for understanding migration: Opportunities (in terms of perceived opportunities for graduate level employment), Connections (to different places through friends and family etc) and Expectations (in terms of anticipated futures). This got me thinking… I haven’t seen it spelt out like this before, but connections are very important. Often when I’m working with students who are thinking about moving, they are anxious about setting up in a new place, and often this process is made a lot easier if there is someone they can stay with while they get on their feet. And this was when I suddenly wondered again – are older siblings particularly important in this respect too? In Bond et al’s report one of the quotes they use is from someone who decided to move to London because his brother was living there, and I thought about my younger brother who when he moved to London, initially lived with my other brother too… perhaps there is a particular avenue for research on the role of older siblings and graduate transitions?



The first Conference Poster

So, this is exciting! I’ve just made my first ever Conference Poster ! Take a look and see what you think – as it’s the first ever poster I’ve made, and I had to teach myself how to do it I’m hoping it’s okay. But I know there’s probably lots of room for improvement. If you have any tips let me know! Oh and the poster is for the Future Connections conference later this week.

conference poster

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“Moving home” or “moving for employment” – Trends in Graduate Migration

I have just been reading a short paper: ‘The complex migration pathways of UK graduates[1]. In this project an online survey was conducted of graduates from Southampton University (2001-7) capturing data about their movements and statuses over 5 years.

The main finding is that migration choices after University can be complex with: ‘approximately one quarter of respondents [being] highly mobile during the five year period after leaving university (they moved between 5-8 times)…’ (p.1)

However, what interested me particularly were the reasons behind the migration patterns… So where the most common reason for a graduate’s first move was ‘return to parents’ (32.7%), the most common reason for a graduate’s second move was ‘employment’ (32.3%). Further, with each subsequent move, greater proportions of migrants moved to London, or back to Southampton. To me, this is interesting because I wonder what impact the parents’ location may have on migration pathways. For some graduates, for example, the parental home may be in a very remote area some distance from University and / or from London, whereas other parents may actually live in the London area. So, what impact does this have on rural graduates? Is ‘going home’ more or less likely after graduation if it involves moving a long distance away? Once home do graduates feel the pressure to move back to an urban environment more acutely or once they’ve moved is it harder to move such a long distance back to an urban area? If anyone reading this blog has any thoughts about this I’d love to hear them!


London – preferred destination for Southampton graduates… even if it takes them several moves to get there.

One further interesting point for me, is that in the research paper, hidden away towards the bottom of the list of reasons for the first move post-graduation is the phrase ‘urban-rural’ which accounts for 3 answers or 0.5% of the sample… while this is a very small number, this reason intrigues me…! There is simply not enough detail in the paper to be able to read between the lines about what this might represent though, so I may just have to remain intrigued!

[1] ESRC Centre for Population Change Briefing 9 October 2012 Sage, J; Evandrou, M; and Falkingham, J.