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Executive Summary

In July 2014, the Society and College of Radiographers (SCoR) surveyed current radiography students and recently qualified radiographers to gather information about their motivations, finances and experiences. Over 600 respondents answered a range of questions in an online questionnaire about the reasons they chose radiography, their student debt and their experiences in their first job. This document presents an analysis of this survey and the following bullet points highlight the main findings:

  • The main reasons students give for choosing the subject of radiography are they are interested in a healthcare career; want to help people / contribute to society; feel it is likely they will find a job after qualification; have potential to develop their career; and are interested in the scientific aspects of radiography. The key reasons for choosing a specific course are the course/university reputation and the clinical placement arrangements.
  • The main reasons for not completing a course are the same for both diagnostic and therapeutic radiography: failing parts of the course; wrong career choice; personal or family reasons; dissatisfaction with the clinical placement; and finding the course too difficult.
  • The median respondent was in debt by £7,000 (excluding mortgage) on the date of their qualification, or was expecting to be.
  • The proportion of recently qualified diagnostic radiographers with jobs arranged in July of their qualification year has seen a statistically significant increase since the low of 46% in 2011 to 83% in 2014. The proportion of recently qualified therapeutic radiographers with jobs arranged in July of their qualification year remains steady around 73%. The main reason radiographers who qualified in 2014 give for not yet having a job arranged is that they have been so far unsuccessful at interview.
  • 79% of radiographers who qualified in 2013 and are currently working, started their first job within 2 months of qualifying. The increase in this percentage since 2011 (when it was 56%) is statistically significant indicating that qualified radiographers are starting their first jobs sooner than in 2011.
  • 88% of working recently qualified radiographers found a job with their preferred type of contract (full time or part time and permanent or temporary). This is a statistically significant increase over the low of 73% in 2011. The number of recently qualified radiographers starting on temporary contracts has had a statistically significant reduction from its peak of 22% in 2011 to 11% in this year’s survey.
  • 82% of radiographers who qualified in 2013 said it was completely or mostly true that their radiography course prepared them sufficiently for their first job. The related comments cited by more than one respondent are that clinical placements are important in helping students feel prepared; it is impossible to feel completely prepared; and that there is insufficient theatre training in courses.
  • Radiographers who qualified in 2013 were asked how important certain career attributes were to them in terms of their expectations of a career in radiography. The most important expectations are job satisfaction, enjoyment, job security and skills and knowledge development.
  • Radiographers who qualified in 2013 are very positive in their assessment of their first year working as a qualified radiographer: 86% said it is completely or mostly true that their career is so far consistent with their expectations.
  • When respondents are asked for their general comments relating to the subject of the survey the most common themes are appreciation of their radiography course, appreciation of this survey, dissatisfaction with their clinical placements, and financial issues they encountered during their studies.

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