Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Employability KPIs

Not CC (obvs)
Yesterday I attended a university committee at which my director presented our draft key performance indicators for employability. There were seven KPIs proposed as follows:
  1. Destination statistics
  2. Opportunities for career planning
  3. Support for the development of employability within courses
  4. Opportunities and support for work experience and placements
  5. Opportunities for developing employability outside the curriculum
  6. Engagement with employers
  7. External recognition and validation
The committee, however, recommended that we have just two: do our graduates get a graduate job and how much are they paid? Whilst I understand that the Browne Review places considerable pressure on universities to show potential students what return they will get for their investment (and rightly so), I can't help thinking that we're confusing institution-level KPIs with service-level KPIs.

I'd be interested in your comments, especially if you're from a careers service who's also wrestling with meaningful KPIs.


  1. The suggestion that graduate salary is an indicator of Student Development's success is preposterous! Your KPIs need to be focused on service delivery e.g.. levels of engagement and campus coverage i.e. number of departments worked with etc, as listed in A-G. The fact of the mater remains without good quality management data measurement remain complicated.

  2. A Former Careers Adviser9 November 2010 at 16:16

    Why does how much they are paid matter? My first job paid not much at all (£7.5), but I wouldn't be where I am today without the skills I developed as a result of the experience. It's not all about getting a £30k job, and it's unrealistic to expect that all students will get a large salary upon exit. To not do so is not failure.

    A former careers adviser.

  3. Couldn't agree with you more. Thanks for comment

  4. Just two is very disappointing. Though it is no surprise that these are probably the two easiest to quantify!

  5. I agree, just two is very disappointing! I believe the two chosen are necessary but not sufficient. It's also no coincidence that they are probably the two that take the least effort to quantify...

  6. I do agree. However, the fly in the ointment is that if someone goes to university on the basis of being the gateway to more lucrative professions which will allow him/her to quickly and painlessly pay off that debt. In post-Browne review education, many people are going to be making some pretty hard-nosed decisions about whether it is "worth" going to university at all.So we - or rather "they" - will want that figure to estimate the graduate premium they will end up with. Ideally however, a university should be measured in the many other dimensions in Stuart's list.

  7. Whether a graduate gets a job and how much that pays really gives you no insight into how well the SSDS is doing, but I think it says a lot about what upper management think is important if they're focussing on the financial side rather than all the aspects of employability and what SSDS does. I wonder if this single-mindedness is evident in other areas of the university, such as on the academic teaching side?

  8. Aminder K Nijjar26 January 2011 at 21:17

    On one hand this is a complicated matter, on the other if we're paying for something, we want results.
    As always, there are many points between these two extremes.
    I am an active advocate of 'Services' becoming more focused on what actually changes (improves) because of what they offer and do.