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Finding employment a struggle for UWI grads

Published:Thursday | July 23, 2015 | 12:57 PM

The latest available tracer survey of first-degree graduates at the University of the West Indies (UWI) indicates a downward trend in employment rates.

The study, which presents a comparison of the 2007, 2008, and 2009 cohort, surveyed two years after graduation, reported employment rates of 90 per cent, 85 per cent, and 85 per cent, respectively.

According to the study, "These employment rates mirror trends in the Jamaican labour force. The downward trend in employment rates is reflective of the impact of the global recession, which continues to have a negative impact on the economy."

"Graduates from the faculties of Medical Sciences and Education had the highest employment rates, with a few graduates who majored in natural sciences, renewable/alternative energy, and social policy and development having problems finding work. Other majors with below-average employment rates included history and geography in humanities, zoology in pure and applied sciences, and economics and political science in the social sciences," the study said.

When broken down by faculty/major the employment rates for the 2007, 2008 and 2009 humanities graduates were 83 per cent, 79 per cent, and 80 per cent, respectively.

For students who studied education, the employment rate for the 2007 cohort was 100 per cent, 98 per cent for the 2008 cohort, and 99 per cent for the 2009 cohort.

For the medical sciences class of 2007 and 2008, employment rates stood at 100 per cent but fell to 97 per cent for the 2009 cohort.

Science and technology students experienced a decline in employability with each graduating class. Employment rates of 86 per cent, 77 per cent, and 74 per cent were reported for the 2007, 2008, and 2009 cohorts, respectively.

The Faculty of Social Sciences reported rates of 89 per cent, 80 per cent, and 82 per cent for its 2007, 2008, and 2009 graduates, respectively.

highest rates of employment

In the social sciences, students who studied banking and finance, labour and employment, and public-sector management enjoyed the highest rates of employment.

For the Faculty of Science and Technology, it was those students who majored in actuarial science, botany, and food chemistry who were able to secure jobs. In fact, students with these degrees recorded a 100 per cent employment rate.

In the medical sciences, students who studied diagnostic imaging and physical therapy reported a 100 per cent employment rate.

Humanities students who opted for majors in creative arts, liberal studies, linguistics, and theology stood a better chance of getting a job, with a 100 per cent employment rate for these subject areas.

All subject areas in the School of Education saw a 100 per cent employment rate except for those students with a degree focusing on early childhood education.

When asked to state the main reason for not working, the report indicated that 32 per cent of the unemployed stated "no job opportunity", while 13 per cent reported that they could not find a job related to their degree. A further 7 per cent reported a lack of work experience.