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10.7.2014

The Catalan university system, a driver of differential employability

5a enquesta d'inserció laboral

The findings of the fifth survey of the labour market outcomes of graduates from Catalan universities have just been released and presented at an event held at the University of Barcelona by the President of the Catalan University Quality Assurance Agency (AQU Catalunya), Jose Joan Moreso, together with the chairman of the University of Barcelona/UB's Board of Trustees, Salvador Alemany, and the Director of the Agency, Martí Casadesús. A total of 17,337 graduates of pre-Bologna degree cycles (llicenciatures, diplomatures, etc.), as well as 1,426 doctoral graduates, were interviewed in the survey.

The main conclusion of this study is that the Catalan university system is a driver of differential employability based on the fact that study at university improves the transition to the labour market of graduates (with a rate of employment of 85% in the case of graduates of pre-Bologna degree cycles and 93% in doctoral degree holders); it reduces the amount of time for graduates to find a job (77% of the graduates of pre-Bologna degree cycles had already found a job within three months of graduating); and they earn a better income (the average salary of graduates of pre-Bologna degree cycles is around 1,900 euros gross a month, and in the case of doctoral degree holders it is higher). In addition, the assessment by graduates from Catalan universities of their university studies also improved, very likely as a consequence of the efforts made by the universities to adapt and come into line with the European Higher Education Area, with more than 70% of graduates and 80% of doctoral degree holders stating they would take the same degree course if they were to start their university studies over again.

Among the more significant aspects among the findings of the survey are the following:

  • 85% of graduates of pre-Bologna degree cycles and 93% of doctoral degree holders have a job three years after completing their university studies. 
  • Unemployment is 11% in the case of graduates of pre-Bologna degree cycles and 5% for doctoral degree holders.
  • The Labour Force Survey (EPA) for the first quarter of 2014 shows the unemployment rate according to the level of education of people aged between 25-44 as being 34% for those with just a primary education; 26% for those with a secondary education; and 16% for those with a university degree. The rates for Catalan graduates, three years after completing their studies, were better, with rates of 23%, 15% and 5% for graduates of pre-Bologna degree cycles, and 29%, 21% and 11% for doctoral degree holders.
  • 75% of graduates of pre-Bologna degree cycles work full-time, compared to 88% in the case of doctoral degree holders.
  • 78% of graduates of pre-Bologna degree cycles have graduate-level job duties and responsibilities, and 97% in the case of doctoral degree holders.
  • 48% of graduates of pre-Bologna degree cycles have a permanent job contract, and 46% in the case of doctoral degree holders.
  • 45% of graduates of pre-Bologna degree cycles earn more than €24.000 a year, and 78% in the case of doctoral degree holders.

All of the public and private universities in Catalonia participated in the survey, which because of its scope and regularity (surveys on the population of graduates who completed their studies three years prior to each survey were carried out in 2001, 2005, 2008 and 2011, in addition to the 2014 survey) is one of the most important in Europe. With around 80,000 graduate records, Catalonia has one of the most representative databases with information on the transition to work of graduates in Europe. In the 2014 survey, 17,295 graduates were interviewed out of a reference population of 31,734, and 2,107 doctoral degree holders out of a population of 3,104.

The survey, which was carried out in the first quarter of 2014, covered graduates of pre-Bologna degree cycles who completed their studies in 2009 (except for graduates in Medicine, who completed their studies in 2007) and doctoral degree holders who completed their degrees in 2009 in 2010. One additional new development in the 2014 survey is that it also covers graduates of Master's programmes (Master's graduates who completed their studies in 2010 and 2011). The findings in relation to Master's programmes will be released at the end of the year.

PDF PDF The universities and employment in Catalonia 2014 [cat]

PDF PDF The transition to the labour market of doctoral degree holders from Catalan universities [cat]

link Report findings according to course and university [cat]