Social inequalities in graduates’ labour market outcomes

There are a number of areas of focus within this project:

1. Examining inequalities in graduates’ labour market outcomes across the life-course

Most of the research examining social inequalities in graduates’ labour market returns have analysed outcomes at one or two points in time, thus providing only snapshots of graduates’ occupational outcomes. This study improves upon the existing research by examining graduates’ labour market trajectories across their life-course (including movements in and out of employment and between occupational classes) and how these trajectories vary by social class of origin. We ask two main research questions: (1) What are the typical labour market pathways followed by graduates?; (2) How do these pathways vary by parental social class? We use data from the British Cohort Study (1970) and sequence analysis followed by cluster analysis to identify the typical trajectories followed by tertiary education graduates. Multinomial logistic regression is then employed to examine whether and to what extent people from different social origins differ in the chance of following more or less advantaged pathways and whether these differences can be explained by variation in their HE experiences.

Paper associated with this research:

•    Wielgoszewska, B., Iannelli, C. and Duta, A. (work in progress) Social origin and graduates’ labour market trajectories up to the age of 42.

2. The role of regional job opportunities and spatial mobility

We explore the spatial dimension of social inequalities in graduates’ opportunities of gaining a top-level job by examining whether and the extent to which class-of-origin effect on entering top level occupations varies geographically. Using the HESA Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DHLE) and a multilevel framework we analyse the importance of individual-level and regional-level factors in graduates’ chances of obtaining a professional/managerial occupation. The research questions asked in this study are: To what extent the characteristics of the origin and destination areas affect the chances of gaining a top-level job after graduation? Does the social-class gap in graduates’ occupational destinations vary depending on these area characteristics?  Preliminary results suggest that the availability of professional and managerial jobs and employment rates in the destination areas are significantly associated with social class differences in graduates’ opportunities of gaining a top-level and that social inequalities are smaller in areas with more job opportunities.

Paper associated with this research:
•    Duta A. and Iannelli C. (work in progress) Social inequalities in graduates’ labour market outcomes: the role of regional job opportunities.

A related study investigates whether mobility to and from higher education enhances graduates’ occupational and earnings prospects and whether geographical mobility explains social inequalities by parental background in graduates’ labour market. Using the HESA Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DHLE) and logit estimations, we address the following research questions: Does the propensity to be more or less spatially mobile when choosing a tertiary institution have consequences for individuals’ labour market returns? Does the propensity to be more or less mobile when entering employment explain different occupational outcomes of graduates from different social origin?
Paper associated with this research:
•    Ernsten A. and Iannelli C. (work in progress) Graduates’ social origin, geographical mobility and labour market outcomes

Policy relevance:
The research we have conducted in this area of work is relevant to policymakers and practitioners seeking to understand the determinant of social inequalities in graduates’ labour market outcomes. To address these inequalities a better understanding of the interplay between micro- and macro-level factors, as well as a life-course perspective, are necessary.

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Date: 
June, 2017

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