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The graduate labour market outcomes survey, On the other end of the phone

Marta Cańizares Bullón - BA History of Art, UB

I finished my degree studies in History of Art at the University of Barcelona (UB) three years ago. I could say that I belong to various different cohorts, as my studies got prolonged over time, between Erasmus and combining my studies and having a full-time job, and it was difficult to relate to any specific cohort or complete my studies in the set period. I have to say that, strictly speaking, getting a job hasn't been a problem, I've been working for more than ten years now. In more specific terms in relation to getting a job related to my studies, however, this is where there has been a few problems.

A few days ago, they got in contact with me regarding a graduate labour market outcomes survey as a recent graduate. I was asked to give my opinion on the world that you are faced with on completing your studies and one in which you have no idea what to do.

I should say that I would have perhaps preferred to have been interviewed in some other way than by telephone. Sometimes doubts come to mind regarding the questions and there isn't enough time to clarify them in the telephone interview, your response is limited, if you don't understood you can't go over them again or make any kind of justification.

Nevertheless, I think it's important to interview graduates who have just finished their studies and who are starting out (though there are those who have combined a job with studying) in employment, above all to present in terms of real values what actually happens after university. There are both positive and negative points however regarding the results that can be obtained from this study.

It's good if what you want is a snapshot of the current situation, the number of students in higher education, those taking Masters, PhDs, etc., and what added value university studies give to one's c.v., whether the subject/s you studied has/have helped you to find a job or not, how many graduates have already found a job by the time they finish their studies, etc. I also believe that many of the shortcomings in the current labour market system will come to light, such as, for example, the fact that graduates in this country are currently not valued highly enough in relation to their studies, as they are in other countries.

There are also negative aspects, although perhaps it's better to label these less positive, such as studies that are more associated with the humanities, for example in my case, offer fewer employment possibilities compared to engineering or more science-based degrees. Establishing a kind of catalogue of “which undergraduate courses currently offer more employment possibilities” at a time like the present could well be detrimental to studies that offer fewer employment opportunities (which doesn't mean they are any less important or anything of the sort) and saturate others. It will therefore be important to know how to use, and NOT manipulate, the information that gets extracted from this survey, and how it can be best disseminated, because when all is said and done new students deserve to know what is expected of them and to be free to choose, what, when, how and why. And also for the universities, teachers, employers, policy-makers, etc., so that they are aware of the fruit that higher education bears in Catalonia, together with the fruit that we would really like it to bear.


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