This article first appeared in the January issue of University Business magazine.
The issue of good employment outcomes has unquestionably grown in the minds of students in recent years. According to YouthSight’s Higher Expectations study, for instance, the numbers of students citing future employability as being very important in their university choice has grown from 45% in 2007/08, to 57% in 2016/17.
Since students are very clearly thinking more in terms of the career pathways that the course they do is likely to offer them, there is not only an increasing necessity for universities to ensure that the courses they offer are more likely to lead to good employment outcomes for their students, but also a great opportunity to market courses on this basis.
This is not an approach that universities have traditionally taken, however, with marketing previously focused on things like courses, academic excellence, reputation and student experience. Yet, if potential students increasingly want to see a clearer link between your courses and the potential career pathways they offer, then surely it makes sense to promote your institution by incorporating this approach in your marketing.
But how can you achieve this? The answer is threefold:
• First, you need to use Labour Market Insight to shed light on the demand for graduate careers in your region.
• Second, you need to link this insight back to the related course areas at your institution.
• Third, you need to be able to clearly display both this careers insight, and the link back to your courses, on your website and in your marketing in general.
Emsi is working with a number of HE institutions to help them achieve these steps.
In the first instance, we have a wealth of information about graduate occupations in your region, including annual openings, salary expectations, skills requirements, and other occupations that require a similar skillset.
In addition, we can map all the graduate jobs in your region back to your course areas, thereby charting a course from the education you provide to certain career pathways.
And, finally, through an API, we can enable you to integrate this data into your website and your marketing in general, so that you can promote your institution as a place where students can get not only a good education and benefit from the experience you offer, but where they can also have a high degree of confidence that the course they are doing will ultimately help them achieve a good employment outcome.
As we say, this is not an approach that most universities have traditionally taken, and so starting to think of marketing in terms of linking careers to courses, rather than just in terms of courses, might at first seem a big leap. Yet, as increasing numbers of young people approach going to university with a different set of priorities than has traditionally been the case — in particular seeking assurance over where the education they are going to receive is likely to lead them — now is the perfect time to demonstrate to them how your institution can help them get where they want to be.
So, why not embrace the future, using both data and technology, in order to promote your university to your potential cohort as the gateway to a positive career pathway?
We’ll be looking at the link from education to career pathways in our forthcoming webinar, Student Demand and Employer Demand: Making the Link. Join us for this free webinar on 6th March by clicking in the button below.