An investigation into Master’s postgraduate employability in small and micro enterprises in West London

Potts, Clive (2020) An investigation into Master’s postgraduate employability in small and micro enterprises in West London. Doctoral thesis, University of West London.

[img]
Preview
PDF
Clive Potts Thesis - September 2020 - FINAL.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (3MB) | Preview

Abstract

This thesis seeks to investigate Masters postgraduate placement and employability by small and micro businesses (i.e. those employing less than fifty or ten employees), in from the perspectives of both small and micro businesses, and Master’s students and graduates. Whilst there has been some research into postgraduate employability, it has tended to focus more on medium to small firms, rather than small to micro firms; and it has also tended to focus on whether Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Master’s students seek self-employment, rather than on the wider career aspirations of Master’s students. West London As the main research question was considered to be explorative, a qualitative study was initiated using the method of Thematic Analysis. Sixteen semi-structured interviews with small and micro businesses, and sixteen semi-structured interviews with Master’s students and graduates were conducted. The questions were derived using the themes of Education and Training, Qualities, Experience and Outcomes which in turn were derived from the Literature Review. The interviews were recorded, transcribed onto Word documents and analysed using NVivo, where coding and identification of further themes took place. It was found that some of the small and micro businesses recruited Master’s postgraduates; that some of the small and micro businesses had been created by Master’s postgraduates; and that many of the Master’s students and graduates interviewed wished to create their own businesses, thus contributing to the small and micro business sector. Whilst many of the small and micro businesses rated work experience above the Master’s qualification, five situations were identified where a small or micro business would have in employment a Master’s postgraduate, and these included, in recruitment for senior positions, and where the business has been founded by the Master’s postgraduate. Conversely, five further situations were identified where a small or micro business would not have in employment a Master’s postgraduate, and these included situations where the business environment is moving faster than academia, or the Master’s candidate is deemed to be overqualified for the role. These findings suggest that the recruitment of Master’s postgraduates by small or micro businesses depends on the perceived needs of the individual business. With respect to the Master’s students and graduates it was identified that the majority, at some time in their careers, would like to create their own businesses, and in this way contribute to the small or micro business sector. In terms of recommendations, this thesis argues that the findings of this research are transferable to other areas and regions. Firstly, because many of the businesses interviewed operated either as professional businesses, or in professional business contexts; with such business types being found in other regions. Secondly, the Master’s students were studying in an economically buoyant area with opportunities to work for larger organisations, yet the majority expressed a desire to create their own businesses. Therefore, this thesis recommends quantitative studies to investigate these findings further, or more regional qualitative studies. Furthermore, it suggests that the universities initiate feedback from small and micro businesses, and from Master’s students, in order to maintain the relevance of the coursework being taught for those Master’s students interested in working in the small or micro business sector, which would ultimately be of benefit to both the Master’s students, and to small and micro businesses, as well as the universities themselves.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Business and finance > Small business > Micro businesses
Business and finance > Small business
Depositing User: Clive Potts
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2021 22:00
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2021 22:02
URI: http://repository.uwl.ac.uk/id/eprint/7783

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Menu