We report an analysis of whether a psychology placement year provides a significant benefit to graduates’ careers. Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey data six months post-graduation suggested that placement programme graduates across the university are more likely to be (i) in work and (ii) in graduate level jobs. For psychology, the association between graduates’ placement status and employment status at six months post graduation was not significant overall. However, when analyses were split by degree classification obtained, it was shown that amongst those graduates with 2.1 classification degrees reporting themselves as working, more placement programme vs. non-placement programme graduates had obtained graduate level jobs (63% vs. 33%). In 2.2 graduates there was no significant association. This pattern persisted in the data from a survey of psychology alumni (from 18 months to six and a half years post graduation). Psychology placement programme alumni were more satisfied with their careers even when ethnicity, gender, degree classification and entry year were taken into account. They also earn more, although not when background factors are taken into account. This study was therefore able to show some measurable and persistent effects of a psychology placement year, although whether the benefits can be claimed to outweigh the costs is inconclusive. Limitations and implications are discussed.
Bibliographical noteThis is an electronic version of an article published in Moores, EJ & Reddy, PA 2012, 'No regrets? Measuring the career benefits of a psychology placement year', Assessment and evaluation in higher education, vol 37, no. 5, pp. 535-554. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education is available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=0260-2938&volume=37&issue=5&spage=535