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Graduate destinations and labour market stratification across different fields of study

Zhang, Meng 2016. Graduate destinations and labour market stratification across different fields of study. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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There has been a large expansion of the higher education sector in the past two and a half decades. This has led to significant research interests about the implications of this growth in degree holders on the state of inequalities in the graduate labour market. However few have focussed on the extent to which inequalities by sex, socioeconomic background, and so forth varies across different fields of study. For instance, the earnings difference between similarly able graduates from different socioeconomic background may be larger for individual that studied ‘soft’ subjects, such as the arts, compared to ‘hard’ subjects, such as the sciences (Hansen 2001). This thesis investigates whether there is any evidence of variations in stratification across fields of study, and attempts to explain why these variations exist. The study tests a number of explanations ranging from competition in the labour market (Brown and Hesketh 2004) to the types of skills used across different occupations. This thesis uses information from two large scale graduate surveys, and a qualitative study of 21 recent graduates to address these issues. Two types of labour market outcomes are considered: earnings and the extent to which individuals make use of their skills in their work. Looking at individuals with a bachelor’s degree, there is evidence that stratification by sex and educational attainment varies across different fields of study. There is no evidence to support claims that stratification by socioeconomic background varies across field of study. In general some of these variations could be explained by the skills used in an occupation. However substantial amounts of the variations in stratification across different fields of study cannot be explained by the theories typically presented in the literature.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 3 August 2016
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2021 16:22

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