AGCAS HE careers service resourcing survey 2020

14 September 2020

Following a survey of AGCAS Heads of Service in August 2020, we are sharing findings on how the resourcing of higher education careers services has changed, and is expected to change further, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Two reports have been produced, one sharing results across the membership, and one focusing on Scottish member services.

AGCAS HE Careers Service Resourcing Report 2020

AGCAS Scotland HE Careers Service Resourcing Report 2020

Key findings of the reports include:

  • There is an average FTE of 20 for AGCAS member services that participated in the research. Only a small proportion of universities that responded had furloughed careers staff, and a small number of services are already reporting staff reductions and recruitment freezes. Most participating careers services in Scotland have between 6 and 15 FTE careers staff, and while only one Scottish institution has furloughed staff, some participating services are already experiencing changes to staffing as a result of Covid-19. 
  • The majority of participating services (including in Scotland) expect their income to decrease in the 2020/21 academic year, but predict that external funding will stay the same.
  • Almost all respondents anticipate that there will be greater demand from the class of 2020, compared to previous cohorts. Across the membership, 59% of participating services offer support to graduates for one to five years after graduation, with 38% offering lifetime support. In Scotland, respondents were split between supporting graduates for up to five years after graduation, and providing lifetime support. 40% of Scottish careers services will support graduates from other institutions, though only in certain circumstances.
  • In this context, it is unsurprising that the three most common challenges careers service leaders expect to face over the upcoming academic year all relate to concerns about the resourcing of their service: ‘cuts to staffing, funding and budgets’, ‘resourcing (increasing) demand’ and ‘recruitment freezes and inability to recruit’.
  • Careers service leaders are also concerned about how to manage their staff remotely, and managing the transition back to campus. There are also concerns about the graduate labour market, recession and opportunities available to students.
  • Despite the challenges, careers service leaders are optimistic that ‘the new normal’ will yield new opportunities, such as the chance for reflection, to seriously focus on the activities that improve student outcomes, and the use of technology to create new initiatives and engage with a broader range of students and stakeholders.

AGCAS calls for greater recognition of the role of university careers services in helping the economy bounce back, and appropriate resourcing of services to manage increasing demand.

If you require further information on the survey, please contact Gabi Binnie, AGCAS Policy and Research Manager.