LinkedIn data could change choice of Uni - Digital PR Scotland
Thursday, June 16th, 2016
An analysis of where Scottish graduates work and where they learned their craft
MY step-daughter sat her first real exam this year. What does that have to do with Digital PR in Scotland?
It was a huge moment in her life and the lives of thousands of other teenagers across the land. They take these exams in the hope of embarking upon long and successful careers. Many of them will go to university and, chances are, they’ll make those choices based on the advice of a career adviser or a university prospectus, selling them a course that would see them go on to a career in the industry they’re interested in.
Aye but therein lies the rub. I work in a PR agency based in Edinburgh, a city served by several universities, two of which provide a dedicated marketing or PR course. You might assume that most of my colleagues pursued such a qualification before entering the industry. Actually, the opposite is true. There are two of us who took that path; the rest studied philosophy, economics, journalism and history.
Why then do so many students take exams and enrol in university courses superficially irrelevant to their eventual career choice?
To get a sense of how common this phenomenon is, I did some digging through data provided by LinkedIn, a social networking site for professionals to promote their CVs. This information allowed me to trace where graduates of certain higher education institutions go on to work. It tells us which degrees they studied, where they live and the skills they claim to have.
So let’s take six prominent Scottish universities and cross-reference them to the top ten workplaces their graduates end up in.
St Andrews University
The most ancient of Scotland’s ancient universities, St Andrews is the destination of choice for royalty and the rest of the ruling class. What state school oiks like me might call the dog’s bollocks. Where do those schooled at this elite seat of learning end up?
The most common professions for St Andrews graduates include finance, government and healthcare. Essentially, they’re keeping the country going, or those that live in the UK are, with the second top destination for graduates being the US. So, if you want to work on Wall Street, the Scottish Government or in a research role — go to St Andrews.
Respected and rigorous institution popular with Scots and those from the farthest-flung reaches of the globe too. Their graduates tend to follow clear career paths.
Many seem to make a dash for the NHS, not surprising given Glasgow’s renowned medicine school. Others head into finance or government but there are a lot of future engineers to be found there too.
Glasgow’s cross-country rival, the academic equivalent of the great salt ‘n’ vinegar vs. salt ‘n’ sauce divide. Which professions will we find Edinburgh graduates toiling in?
As we can see, Edinburgh graduates find themselves working all over the world. Finance is the most popular job destination, although the Scottish Government is a typical choice too
Where do those who study at the second-oldest university in Glasgow go on to ply their trade?
Engineering and operations dominate the career paths of Strathclyde graduates. While banking and research are popular as with other institutions, the job list is more varied than many other universities. Note that graduates are less likely to travel.
Queen Margaret University
What about my alma mater? It’s a newish university with their courses ranging from vocational qualifications like nursing to the much-maligned media studies. I wasn’t a particular fan of academia or my choice of university but it made sense as they offered a PR course. So where did my fellow graduates end up?
We’re a very health-conscious bunch, it would seem, given how many of us go into healthcare services. Predictably the NHS is the number one employer but local government gets a shout in there too.
The old Napier College of Commerce and Technology became a university in 1992 and is perhaps best known for its journalism courses.
If you attend Napier, there is a likelihood that you’ll work in media, marketing or consulting. There are also consumer roles in there, including Sky and Tesco, but observe the location list. Napier students are less likely to be working and living outwith the United Kingdom.
So what’s the lesson? Again, data is useful. There is no artifice with data; it tells you things the way they are. My advice to students sitting exams would be to take the prospectus and sales pitch with a pinch of salt. Instead, look at where graduates end up and ask if it’s where you see yourself in five or ten years.
What does this mean for universities?
It used to be that Universities held all the cards. However, with the proliferation of online CV’s and LinkedIn holding so much data that it can be bought for almost £20 billion – it’s clear that making use of your own data is worthwhile. Get in touch and we’ll help you make sense of it.
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