A critical review of evidence for the claims and perceptions of a shortage of science and engineering graduates in the UK

White, Carol (2017) A critical review of evidence for the claims and perceptions of a shortage of science and engineering graduates in the UK. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

[img] PDF - Published Version
Download (7MB)


After critically reviewing evidence in historical debates of a persistent claim of a declining interest in the sciences, the thesis draws on contemporary HESA data to calculate firstyear STEM intake figures to Higher Education from 2002-03 to 2014-15 to estimate both a level of STEM recruitment and the number of STEM graduates produced after completing a graduate and post graduate programme over the same period. The supply of graduates is then considered against a level of demand estimated through two proxy indicators, the vacancy rate and salary levels for science and technology graduates. An analysis of the recruitment patterns for science and engineering to identify factors a↵ecting recruitment was also conducted. The research study was supplemented with a ‘before and after’ survey of the London Youth International Science Forum initiative, to assess its impact on recruitment to STEM subjects. Despite the perception of a shortfall in STEM numbers, the findings show graduate recruitment numbers rising over the period under examination, although a regional variation in supply, and shortfalls in some STEM disciplines, may account for claims of a shortfall in graduate numbers. The contribution to knowledge of this research lies in the in-depth analysis of the student recruitment patterns to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in the UK over the period from 2003 to 2015. While the analysis identified several relevant factors: contextual, political and financial acting as constraints to STEM recruitment, nevertheless, the research found no quantitative evidence of a crisis in recruitment.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher education
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QA Mathematics
T Technology
T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2017 05:58
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2017 05:58
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/70005

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update