LMI programme > Publications

Assessing the usability of the Western Cape Graduate Destination Survey for the analysis of labour market outcomes

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Corporate author/s:

University of Cape Town (UCT), Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU); Labour Market Intelligence Partnership (LMIP), Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET)

Person/s author/s:

Branson, Nicola Leibbrandt, Murray


research report



Graduate destination studies have the potential to provide detailed information about graduate transitions to work that cannot easily be collected in household surveys. However, response rates are typically very low and raise the concern that the non-response is not random and that inferences using data on those who respond will be inaccurate. This study examines response rates in the Western Cape Graduate Destination Survey where 22% of all 2010 university graduates from the four Western Cape universities were successfully interviewed in 2012. We examine differences in observable baseline characteristics, assess the extent of nonresponse bias for a labour market participation analysis, compare rates of continued study with those in the Higher Education Management Information System (HEMIS) database, and implement a selection-correction methodology that uses type of email address as an exclusion restriction. We find that those who successfully responded to the survey were more likely to be studying in 2012 and have some systematically different baseline information that signals that response is not random. Our selection-correction methodology, however, finds limited impact for an equation of employment. This study provides important input into plans for a National Destination Survey. We recommend that the focus be directed at preparing and standardising the sampling frame, and that detailed records of the survey process be kept. In addition, we illustrate the potential benefits of linking graduate destination study data with administrative resources to assess bias and supplement the survey information obtained.

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