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Equal job conditions between male and female graduates, three years after graduation

Presentació de l'estudi Gènere i inserció laboral del col·lectiu universitari

AQU Catalunya has presented the results of the study on Gender and graduate labour market outcomes: an analysis of the quality of the professional employment outcomes of female graduates and possible differences in relation to male graduates three years after graduation, which was carried out with the support of the Institut Català de les Dones, the Catalan government-sponsored institute for female affairs.

The study is based on the analysis of the data obtained in the latest AQU graduate labour market outcomes survey carried out in 2008 on graduates from the 2004 cohort year (year of graduation) and therefore reflects their job situation three years after graduating. 

Analysis of the figures confirms that the behaviour of the indicators used to determine entry into work and the quality of early labour market outcomes of graduates varies significantly according to the type of degree course taken. The few differences that do exist according to gender are not systematically negative for female graduates. The main conclusion of the study is that there are no significant differences in the quality of graduate labour market outcomes between male and female graduates who take the same degree and that the variable that most accounts for the quality of early labour market outcomes is the degree studied.

Employment rate (percentage of the graduate population in employment) 
The employment rate for female graduates in 2008 was 93% compared to 94% for male graduates. If analysed according to type of degree and subject, there is a much greater variation in the rate according to the type of degree than for gender. For example, amongst female graduates there is a difference of 13 points between the rate for Philosophy and Humanities (85%) and for Medicine and Dentistry (98%), whereas the biggest difference according to gender for the same degree is in Civil Engineering, with 6.7 points. 

Unemployment rate (percentage of the graduate population looking for work) 
The unemployment rate in 2008 was 3% for both female and male graduates. There is a difference of 7 points among female graduates according to the degree taken, whereas the biggest difference between male and female graduates is 4 points. 

Inactivity rate due to family circumstances (percentage of the graduate population that is unemployed and not looking for work due to maternity or taking care of a family member) 
Only 48 people out of the total of 12,258 surveyed were not in employment as a result of family circumstances. The low significance of this result is possibly due to the moment in the life cycle of the survey population, which was young graduates three years after completing their studies and whose labour market outcomes were most probably not influenced by aspects like the division of work by sex. 

Stability rate (percentage of the graduate population with a permanent contract) 
There is a close relationship between the stability rate and the type of degree taken. In the case of female graduates, the most significant differences are to be found according to the degree taken (32% of Fine Arts graduates had a permanent contract compared to 82% of graduates in Economics and Business Management and Administration) and are not in relation to male graduates. The figures also show that female graduates of certain degrees have more stability than their colleagues in the same cohort (the most pronounced differences are nearly 20 points higher for female graduates in Pharmacy and Food Science and Technology). 

Temporary employment rate (percentage of the graduate population with a temporary contract) 
Whether a graduate is in temporary employment depends greatly on the degree taken, and this affects 1 out of every 3 female graduates and 1 out of every 4 male graduates. This is explained partly by the fact that the processes for recruitment to the public sector (in areas that are dominated by female workers, such as education and health) typically involve temporary contracts (substitutes and/or non-resident). 

Employment in management (percentage of the graduate population with job duties in management) 
Having managerial job duties depends to a great degree on the degree taken. For graduates in Teaching and Medicine, there is a low percentage of graduates with managerial duties, unlike other subjects such as Economics and Business Management and Administration, Architecture and Civil Engineering, where the probability is higher. The fact that male and female graduates are distributed asymmetrically according to the degree studied leads to differential values that are artificially very high on the side of male graduates, when in fact in the same subject the percentages are only slightly higher for male graduates than for female graduates. In certain cases, such as in Communication and Documentation, the values are higher on the side of female graduates. 

Salary (average gross annual salary) 
While male graduates as a whole earn more than female graduates, the differences within the same gender according to groups of degrees are bigger than between the genders within the same group of degrees. Female graduates earn an average gross monthly salary of 1,710 euros compared to 1,997 euros for male graduates. The fact that there is a salary difference of €174 in the public sector for Teaching with the same type of contract however raises doubts about the reliability of this indicator regarding inter-gender comparisons. 

Education-job match (percentage of the graduate population with job duties on the same level as their university studies) 
The degree subject studied determines the level of job match for both female and male graduates. The match for degree subjects with legally regulated "closed" markets, such as Architecture, Medicine and Dentistry, is close to 100%, whereas the match is lower when the market is not so clearly defined or is not regulated (Fine Arts, Tourism, Geography and History, etc.). 86% of female graduates contend that their job duties are specific to or on the same level as their university studies, whereas it is 84% in the case of male graduates. 

Part-time employment rate (the percentage of the graduate population that is not working full time) 
For both genders this rate is conditioned by the subject area, with the highest values in Humanities (26% for female graduates and 20% for male graduates) and the lowest in Engineering and Architecture (7% for female graduates and 4% for male graduates). In general, the part-time employment rate is higher for the female population, although in some subjects, such as Philosophy and Humanities, there are more male than female graduates working part-time (6 points difference). For both male and female graduates, part-time work is more usual in the public sector than in the private sector. The percentage of male graduates working part-time in the public sector is double the figure for those working in the private sector.

Despite the clear influence of a graduate’s university studies on the quality of his/her early employment outcomes, the effect of the degree studied is not deterministic as there exists a very high variability in terms of job achievement for female and male graduates of a particular degree. For example, 25% of female graduates in Geography and History – degrees with one of the poorest performance levels in terms of the quality of early labour market outcomes – achieve better employment results (education-job match, salary, stability and job satisfaction) than 25% of female graduates in Civil Engineering or female graduates in Production Engineering, which are two subjects with the best overall labour market outcomes.

PDF Gender and graduate labour market outcomes [ca]
PDF Press note [ca]

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