Latest student and employer survey results from NUS

Posted in: Comment, New Publications

The latest NUS survey (with Change Agents and the HEA) of student and employer attitudes towards (and skills for) sustainable development in HE has been published.  You cannot access it here, because the HEA's link doesn't work.  A metaphor, I think.  Maybe by the time you read this, it'll have been fixed, but HEA is never in a hurry to do anything, so, ...

However, the executive summaries are here (students) and here (employers).

The results continue to show a consistent pattern of positive responses.  NUS says that the key findings from the student survey are:

  1. Eight in every ten students consistently believe that sustainable development [SD] should be actively incorporated and promoted by universities, and this increases as respondents progress through their studies.  International students are significantly more likely to agree that action should be taken by universities in this way.
  2. Over two-thirds of respondents consistently believe that SD should be incorporated into all university courses.
  3. Over 60% of domestic students and three-quarters of international students would like to learn more about SD.
  4. There is a continued desire among students for a reframing of curriculum content, rather than additional content or courses.  However, only approximately half of respondents currently identified their courses as a source of skills development across the range of skills for SD, with most believing these skills had been developed through their everyday lives.  A notable exception is understanding people’s relationship to nature, which continues to lack coverage in all contexts.
  5. Skills development is also high on the agenda with over two-thirds of first-year respondents consistently agreeing that universities should be obliged to develop their sustainability skills as part of their course.
  6. At the same time, maintaining and developing links with employers remains increasingly relevant to students with internships increasingly seen as a method of further skills development.
  7. Approximately two-thirds of students would be willing to sacrifice £1,000 from an average graduate starting salary to work for a company with a positive social and environmental record, while over two-fifths would be willing to sacrifice £3,000.
  8. Significantly more respondents are willing to make a £3,000 sacrifice from their starting salary for a specific role that contributes to positive social and environmental change.


I have never been convinced by these salary sacrifice data (#7/8) as they don't ring true to me.  It's clear that students say they would do these things – but what do they actually do when the cash is on (or not) the table?  Does anyone know?

Point 4 is the key one here I think, and I want to read the full report.  Come on HEA.  Sort yourselves out!



Posted in: Comment, New Publications


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