June News Digest: marking boycott, female graduate pay and part-time work

Jun 29, 2023 | Home Featured, News, Sector & policy

Students frustrated with marking boycott, female graduates paid less, more students work part-time due to cost-of-living crisis, graduate job woes in China. ISE’s CEO Stephen Isherwood shares what’s caught his eye in the news this month.


Marking ban delays graduation for many students

Instead of celebrating graduation, parents and students are angry over university marking delays, reported The Times. The marking boycott means that many final year students will get their degree result late and face delays to graduation ceremonies, reported the BBC.

Up to a third of graduates could be affected, reported the Guardian. The ISE published guidance for employers that encouraged them to be flexible with students impacted by the marking ban.


Female graduates are paid less

The median pay of female graduates starting work is £2,000 behind that of male graduates, reported The Times. The article is based on analysis of HESA’s recently published graduate outcomes data for the 2020/21 cohort.

Pay is also causing newly qualified auditors to leave the profession says the Chair of the Financial Reporting Council. Sir Jan du Plessi told the FT that auditors need to pay more to attract people to the profession.


Students work more but attend fewer careers sessions

The cost-of living-crisis is driving more students to work alongside their studies. The percentage of students working part-time has jumped from 45% to 55%, said HEPI in a new report that investigated the student academic experience.

This increased pressure on student’s free time could reduce the time they make available to research careers. Nearly a fifth (18%) of students took no part in careers activity over the last year, said Chris Rea in a blog for WonkHE.


An international perspective

Graduate jobs in China are in decline as the economy suffers from sluggish demand and weak exports. Chinese graduates are avoiding the labour market, even deliberately failing exams to delay graduation, as youth unemployment hits 20% reported The Times.

Over in Northern Ireland, the Irish Government has provided 44.5 million euro to Ulster University for new campus buildings as part of Shared Ireland Fund investments, reported the Irish Examiner.

The UK is not the only country that struggles to improve access to higher education from lower socio-economic groups. Despite decades of investment, Australian elite universities still favour wealthy students, reported The Guardian.


UK universities free speech champion appointed

The government has appointed Professor Arif Ahmed, a Cambridge academic, as the new, and first, freedom of speech champion, reported The Independent. Over at WonkHE, Jim Dickinson assessed what he might actually do in the role.

You can also catch up with our industry’s news in the May News Digest.

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