An investigation into postgraduate employability in the UK's small and medium size enterprises (SMEs)

Potts, Clive (2017) An investigation into postgraduate employability in the UK's small and medium size enterprises (SMEs). In: UWL Doctoral Students' Conference, 24 May 2017, London, UK. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Introduction:
Whilst there has been much research and debate on the skills and attributes of graduates, and their employability for businesses including SMEs, Branine (2008) indicated that SMEs are also recruiting postgraduates. Furthermore Clarke and Lunt (2014) suggested that with the increase in the number of postgraduates and the uncertain economic climate, those with a postgraduate degree are employed in a range of different contexts.
Aim of the Research:
The aim of the research is to investigate Master's postgraduate employability from an SME perspective by finding out what skills and attributes are expected of Master's postgraduates, and to compare and contrast those views with postgraduate students and professional recruitment agencies.
Research Question:
To what extent are the profiles of postgraduates (Master's) entering the labour market meeting the needs of SMEs?
Sub-Questions:
What skill profiles do SMEs look for when recruiting?
What benchmarks are available to SMEs when employing postgraduates?
To what extent are SMEs satisfied that postgraduates have the employability skills they are looking for?
What is the postgraduate perception to working in the SME sector?
To what extent are postgraduate students satisfied that they are acquiring the skill sets to work for SMEs?
Methodological Approach:
A mixed methods approach using exploratory design is being undertaken. The qualitative component consisting of interviews with SMEs, Master's students and recruitment agencies is currently underway following a pilot study which involved the interviewing of Master's students. The qualitative phase will then inform the quantitative phase which will involve surveys of SMEs and Master's students.
Current findings:
The pilot study showed that the majority of Master's students interviewed were open to working for SMEs, regardless of their work background. The majority also saw their business knowledge, managerial, and analytical skills being developed.
Expected Contribution of Study:
It is expected that the research will contribute to the academic debate on Master's skill sets for SMEs, and also suggest guidelines to develop Master's postgraduate employability profiles.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Business and finance > Business and management > Business operations
Business and finance > Business and management > Entrepreneurship
Business and finance > Small business > Micro businesses
Depositing User: Clive Potts
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2017 10:32
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2017 13:33
URI: http://repository.uwl.ac.uk/id/eprint/3654

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