The 2012 Highlights Report of Universities New Zealand - Te Pōkai ...

The 2012 Highlights Report of Universities New Zealand - Te Pōkai ...


Growing New Zealand | Getting the total picture

Focus and scope

The GLSNZ is unique in its range and depth. The study

involves a randomly-selected sample of 8,719 students

that is broadly representative of the 40,000 students

completing programmes at all eight universities in

2011. The sample includes a wide range of disciplines

and students. It is unique in so far as it covers not only

mainstream undergraduate and graduate students but

also part-time, extramural and international students.

A broad range of ethnicities and ages are also covered.

Internationally, only one other study has involved such

a diverse range of students and none has tracked their

progress for more than five years after graduation.

The study also interrogates its survey cohort in

unprecedented depth. It examines a broad range of

factors including university experiences, academic

beliefs, goals and values, employment and career

aspirations, personality measures, physical health and

well-being and community involvement. Educational

background, qualification level and type, study load,

mode of study and citizenship are also included. The

same core set of measures will be employed in each

survey wave over the next 10 years.

April Extended Baseline Report

With 400+ questions and an average completion time

of 36.2 minutes, the survey is considerably longer than

typically administered in this type of research. Even

so, the baseline survey achieved an excellent 72%

response rate, of whom >90% had complete data.

This high level of participation was largely attributable

to the careful staging of the survey’s launch, the

adoption of innovative marketing techniques and

the individual universities’ customised approach to

encouraging students to participate.

The Extended Baseline Report, published in April 2012,

has already yielded much valuable demographic data

and provided new insights into graduate experiences

and expectations.

Female students comprised 62% of the sample with

males at 37.6%. There was also a broad range of

ethnicities — Europeans account for 61%; Chinese 11.3%;

Maori 7.2%; Indian 5.3% and Pasifika approximately 3.5%.

Domestic students comprised 88.3% of the sample

and international students 11.5 % with 68.7% coming

from Asia, 9.2% from Europe and 7.9% from the

Americas. For over 25% of the sample, English was

not their first language.

Over 70% were under 30 years of age. A broadening of

the social base was also evident with almost 37% the

first members of their family to attend university. Around

42% had a mother who was a graduate and around 45%

had a graduate father.

Satisfaction with university study was high with more

than three quarters of the sample feeling it was worth

the time, cost and effort. Almost 70% also felt their

overall experience at university met their expectations.

Interest in a topic and the availability of relevant courses

were the dominant reasons for choosing a discipline

or university with these factors rating 77.1% and 70.1%

respectively. Earning potential ranked much lower at

32% and just 8.4% chose their course of study because

of family expectations. The average sized student loan

was NZ$15,001 to NZ$20,000 — 19.2% did not take

out a loan. In the next two years 37.2% of graduates

planned to be working overseas (including international

students); within 10 years, 27.1% planned to be working


Future Policy and planning

The GLSNZ is shaping up as the most comprehensive

longitudinal life-course study of graduates in the

world. It breaks new ground and will establish new

international benchmarks for survey design and

execution. It is already attracting international attention

and will be a focus of the Second International Graduate

Employment Conference to be held in Auckland in

July 2013 as part of the centenary celebration of the

Association of Commonwealth Universities.

The first decade after leaving university is generally

accepted as a particularly salient and important career

establishment period. A large amount of data has

already been collected during the baseline survey and

the follow-up surveys in two, five and 10 years’ time

will yield an even greater breadth of data. As Professor

Richie Poulton, GLSNZ Director, points out, “that will

provide an unparalleled opportunity to study, in detail,

graduates’ life-course pathways after graduation.”

“This study will be an invaluable source of data for the

future development of both government and university

policy. It will provide a total picture that will enable

planners to identify the significant private and public

benefits that flow from a tertiary education and how

these benefits contribute to the national good.”»

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