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Title: "It's not already laid out for you in a small company" : UK graduates' knowledge and skills utilisation in small and large businesses
Author: Luchinskaya, Daria
ISNI:       0000 0004 5923 9139
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2016
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Small firms have been highlighted by the UK government as potential graduate employers, in the context of an expanding higher education system and slow growth in 'traditional' graduate jobs. But it is unclear whether graduates working in small firms would have similar opportunities to use their knowledge and skills and develop their careers as would graduates working in large companies. This thesis investigated this issue using a mixed-methods approach informed by small business and career theories. A targeted statistical analysis of a national longitudinal dataset of UK graduates currently in their early careers (Futuretrack) was followed up with interviews with a strategically selected sub-sample of 20 graduates employed in business and public service associate professional occupations. Little association was found between employer size and graduates' use of the knowledge and skills developed during their university degrees. However, some evidence suggested that the ways in which graduates were taking on additional responsibilities differed by employer size: larger companies were more likely to have formal career development programs in place and graduates were able to take opportunities, while small companies tended to have less formal arrangements, so that graduates had to be more self-reliant and make opportunities to develop their jobs. However, graduates in small businesses tended to reach a career plateau relatively quickly, which compelled them to change employers. Most of these graduates, however, thought that their experience in small businesses had helped them go on to get better jobs. The main contribution of this thesis is the finding that, even in a narrowly defined occupation and industry group, business size has a partial and qualified effect on graduates' experience of work and career development. The findings also have significant implications for policy, recommending that graduates' career development opportunities be taken into account when encouraging graduates to work in small firms.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HF Commerce