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Publication of the report on the employment outcomes of master's graduates

Following the release in mid-2017 of reports on the employment outcomes of graduates and doctoral degree holders from universities in Catalonia, AQU Catalunya has now published the report on the employment outcomes of master's graduates.

The study analyses the population that graduated from master's programmes in the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 academic years. The survey sample of 8,747 people accounts for 45% of the total population (19,307 people). The consistency of the study is clear from the magnitude of the survey sample and the fact that all of the public and private universities in Catalonia, together with twelve affiliated schools and institutes, participated. As a result, the sample error was only 0.79%, meaning that the sample is a representative one and that the findings can be extrapolated to the rest of the population.

The main conclusions of the study are as follows:



  • The provision of Master's programmes has become consolidated in higher education in Catalonia: the number of master's graduates has increased from one master's graduate to every three bachelor's graduates in 2011-2012 to one to every two bachelor's graduates in the 2015-2016 academic year. At the present time, approximately 34,000 students graduate every year from undergraduate/bachelor's programmes, along with 15,000 from master's programmes and 2,500 from doctoral programmes.
  • Another indicator of the competitiveness of Master's programmes is that less than half of all graduates took their previous degree at the same university (37%).



  • Approximately 9 out of every 10 Master's graduates are in work. The employment rate ranges from 83% in Fine Art to 100% in Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Design. A degree is therefore a key element in the transition into employment.

    Employment rate according to level of higher education (2017)



    Percentage of the graduate population in employment, unemployed and inactive, according to level of education (population aged between 25 and 44, Labour Force Survey, first quarter 2017)





  • The employment rate has recovered for all levels of education in comparison to 2014. There has also been an improvement in the conditions of employment in comparison to 2014 (in terms of a full-time working week, a higher level of permanent/indefinite duration recruitment, higher salaries, higher levels of responsibility and higher job satisfaction), although this was not the case for graduates of undergraduate/bachelor's programmes.

    Trend in the conditions of employment of Master's graduates (in percentage points)

2017_Qualitat de ocupacio_en 


  • The only skill where there is clearly a skills gap is English.

    Skills gap: where the type or level of skill is different from that required to perform the job adequately*


    *Only among Master's graduates with graduate-level job responsibilities



  • Overall satisfaction: approximately 2 out of 3 graduates would take the same Master's programme again. There is a very wide variability, however, ranging from 77% of graduates in Physics and Mathematics, 75% in Documentation and 74% in Economics to 31% in Building and 40% in Fine Art.
  • Satisfaction with the different items of learning: In terms of graduate satisfaction, most skills specific to a Master's degree, in accordance with the QF-EHEA in Spain (Spanish Qualifications Framework for Higher Education/MECES), were rated with a pass mark. Between 2014 and 2017, however, there was a slight decrease in the level of satisfaction with a considerable number of the learning items.



  • Gender differences in employment were identified (25% of testing was significant), with a bias in the majority of cases (80%) in favour of males.