Graduates on the property ladder: Skills, work and employment in a 'graduatising' industry

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Education


Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.
Description With the expansion of higher education (HE), and a subsequent increase of graduates entering the labour market, the findings from this research are timely. This research developed a new, broader conceptualisation of graduate skills and employed a methodology that allowed a deeper understanding of the skills of graduates. Without such an approach, the impact of graduate skills on economic performance cannot be properly understood. The findings of this project add to scientific understanding and can also be used by government and practitioners.

Data analysis is on-going. The main findings to date are:
• That graduate skills and the skills of graduates need to be conceptually and empirically disentangled;
• There is no evidence of a direct specific impact made by graduates on economic competitiveness through HE-specific skills in this occupation;
• The skills demanded and deployed in this occupation, even when developed through HE, are not necessarily HE-specific;
• Estate agents do not regard their occupation as a graduate occupation nor as a high skilled job yet more graduates are entering the occupation because employer demand for graduates is opportunistic, and for graduates suited to the occupation, it provides a stepping-stone into the labour market and possibly a career;
• Estate agent employers have a concept of graduateness that over and above soft skills is a collective reference to generic skills such as time management, commitment and organisation and also independence, roundedness, life experience;
• Hybrid workplaces exist in which both graduates and non-graduates are recruited for and perform the same jobs; and
• Perceptions vary by country and market segment about the efficacy of using graduates to 'professionalise' the industry.
Exploitation Route In collaboration with Asset Skills we are planning to write an application for the Knowledge Exchange Opportunities Scheme. This application would propose a series of seminars run for practitioners based on the findings of our research in order to maximise the research's impact with practitioners. The main areas covered would be:
• Staff development and training;
• Skill requirements;
• Skill utilisation; and
• The use of graduate labour for professionalisation projects.

One of the research officers, Dr. Gerbrand Tholen, extended the ideas from this research into his application to the British Academy as part of their Postdoctoral Fellowship programme. His application was successful for a three-year Fellowship. During this time he will continue this research to better understand graduate labour in three other occupations within IT, Finance and Biotechnology.
Sectors Education

Description The research generated both academic and non-academic outputs and impact. Academic impact • The scientific objectives of this project provide evidence-based analysis of the outcomes of the expansion of higher education on the UK labour market and labour process in a service sector occupation through generating a better understanding of the supply, demand, development and deployment of skills in jobs that are being 'graduatised'. AS such the findings were used by elias and Purcell in their work in developing SOC (HE) • A new conceptual framework for analysing skill supply, demand, development and deployment was developed and has been written in paper submitted to an academic journal. In addition, the research also had broader academic benefits. The management of the project strongly emphasised the career development of early career researchers through formalised training opportunities and engagement with practitioners. Non-academic impact • Through SKOPE's well-established network, the research was presented at an employer forum attended by SKOPE Associates and employers at Oxford. • The findings attracted sub-national media attention. • A report of the research project was presented to the Asset Skills Advisory Board. A presentation was given to the Board and invited employers.
First Year Of Impact 2010
Sector Education
Impact Types Economic,Policy & public services