How Many Science And Technology Graduates In Liverpool And Merseyside?
The Liverpool city region (Merseyside) looks on available evidence to have only about half the number of scientists which might be expected on the basis of the overall national statistics. The reasons for this deficit are not immediately obvious, given the number of HE institutions in the sub-region.
So by what indicators might Merseyside measure progress in the retention and development of graduate scientists and technologists?
In 2008 the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University between them will, excluding medical doctors, produce more than 2000 new Science and IT graduates. There will also be nearly 500 post-graduates, including those, a considerable number of whom studied part-time for Master’s degrees, in the field of information technology – which is noted as a strength on Merseyside.
Who’s economically active?
Just under half the UK population (i.e some 28 million people) is economically active, nearly a tenth of whom (2.67 million, in 2005) have a Science or Engineering HE qualification – which is about two fifths of all graduates; and some 88% of these are currently in employment.
But the Merseyside conurbation has a population of nearly 1.5 million. Of those of working age however, against a national average of 74.5%, about 68% (551,000) are in employment (62%, or 167,000 in Liverpool itself) .
Whilst it is very difficult to obtain accurate and up-to-date statistics on exactly how many scientists live and / or work in Merseyside, some approximations are possible. These suggest that numbers are significantly lower than they ‘should’ be, if the overall numbers of scientists and technologists were distributed evenly across the UK.
Approaching 30% of the UK newly adult population is now qualified to degree level (in any subject), whereas even after considerable recent improvement the figure on Merseyside is around 21% .
The Liverpool city region clearly needs to keep (or, better still for everyone over time, attract, and ‘exchange’ freely with other places) as many of our current annual output of 2,500 science graduates as possible.
Measuring retention, exchange and employment of graduates
How this can be done is, of course, a matter still under debate. But one sensible place to begin might be to set up a formal method of collating data about who, with a degree in what, stays on, comes to live and work in, or leaves the Liverpool city region. How else are we to measure progress or otherwise in our 21st century economy?
That these figures, for every stage in graduates’ careers and lives, are not routinely available on a Liverpool city region basis, is an indicator of how far we have yet to travel in the knowledge economy stakes.
Useful statistics and references
BERR SET (Science, Engineering & Technology) Indicators 2005
City of Liverpool Key Statistics Bulletin August 2006
Office of National Statistics 2006
Knowledge Exchange Merseyside Graduate Labour Market Report
Merseyside Economic Review 2007
You are particularly invited to offer Comment below if you can tell us more about these statistics, in respect of Liverpool, Merseyside and / or the Manchester-Liverpool conurbation. Thank you.