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SMEs value university research and graduates

10 August 2017 | news

University research makes a positive contribution to New Zealand businesses according to a recent survey of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) commissioned by Universities New Zealand.

In a phone survey of 750 businesses with between 5 and 19 staff, 68% of SMEs said they agreed or strongly agreed that “universities make a positive contribution to New Zealand businesses through their research”, with just 13% disagreeing that “university research helps solve pressing issues facing New Zealand”.

At a local level, a total of 62% agreed or strongly agreed that universities make a positive contribution to New Zealand’s regions. A recent economic impact report commissioned by Universities New Zealand found that universities contribute between 1.6% and 6.5% of GDP to the regions in which they have a presence.

The survey also found that:

  • Around 65% of SMEs currently employ degree-qualified staff with one-in-five estimating that three-quarters or more of their staff were in jobs that required a degree.
  • Just over half (56%) of SMEs’ chief executive or equivalent hold a degree themselves, most commonly in Commerce.
  • One-third of SMEs have employed a graduate in the last two years and 31% said they have provided work experience/hosted an intern.
  • SMEs that connected with universities for research or commercialisation purposes were generally positive about the experience, with a majority agreeing or strongly agreeing that it was easy to work with the university, and that the university understood their needs and worked within their timelines.
  • Just one out of ten SMEs said they have a relationship with their local regional economic body, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, and/or Callaghan Innovation.

The survey was commissioned by Universities New Zealand as part of a new look at current and changing perceptions of university education, graduates, research and business engagement.

Technical notes: Phone survey of 750 businesses undertaken by Curia Market Research Ltd for Universities New Zealand, 5-23 June 2017. Sampling error +/- 3.6% at the 95% confidence level. Businesses selected from ANZSIC classification of industries in which NZ SMEs are mainly located (excluding non-professional services and retail trade) plus start-up businesses listed with or

See also

What parents overwhelmingly want for their children

NZIER report on Regional activities of Universities