July 2015


Main results of the employers survey

Queralt Capsada Munsech - Project manager

The Employers project was started by AQU Catalunya in 2014, with funding from Obra Social "la Caixa", with the aim of improving the employability of graduates from universities and other higher education institutions in Catalonia. The objective of the Employers project is to gather and analyse the opinions of employers and professionals from different branches of economic activity on the skills and education level of the recent graduate population in Catalonia. The perceptions of employers complement those of higher education graduates, which are detailed in the surveys on graduate employment outcomes carried out on an on-going basis in Catalonia since 2001.

The Employers project consists of three stages:

Fases projecte ocupadors

The first stage of the Employers survey, which has already been completed, consisted of a survey of enterprises (companies and institutions) in Catalonia that had recruited recent graduates over the previous five years. On the basis of the data obtained from the survey, a report titled Employers' perceptions of the employability and skills of recent graduates in Catalonia was produced with details of the results and findings concerning employers' perceptions of the skills of recent graduates.

As the following graph shows, the skills that employers regard as being most important are demonstrating responsibility at work, the ability to acquire new knowledge and team working. Their overall satisfaction with the skills of recent graduates was 7 (medium to high), although there was scope for improvement in all skills. The skills with the biggest difference between the importance of the skills of recent graduates, as far as the employers were concerned, and their actual satisfaction with their employees' skills was in problem solving, practical skills and the ability to come up with new ideas and solutions.

Comparison between the importance of and satisfaction with the skills of recent graduates

The main results and findings of the survey were presented at an event at CosmoCaixa, with the participation of Spanish and international experts. The more important results and findings include the following:


In addition to the survey of enterprises, sector-specific surveys have also been carried out for the public sector (health, education and administration), which is one of the more important employers of graduates in Politial Sciences, Sociology, Infant and Primary Education, Medicine and Nursing, amongst others. Results currently available include those from the employers survey and the public services and administration survey. Results of the education and health sector surveys will be made available at the end of 2015.


Empreses i institucions

Employers survey

Funció pública

Public services and administration survey [Catalan]

Centres educatius

Survey of education institutions (primary and secondary)

Medicina i Infermeria

Medicine and Nursing survey

In order to better understand the strengths and weaknesses in the skills of recent graduates, discussion groups are being held according to different branches of economic activity (stage 2). The aim of the discussion groups is to follow up and discuss in greater detail the descriptive results provided by the survey and to better understand the skills that employers in each sector look for in recent graduates.
A call for applications for research grants will shortly be made (stage 3). Aimed at the academic community, the purpose is for more in-depth research to be carried out on the employability and skills of recent graduates and their match with the demands and requirements of the labour market (the so-called education-job skills match).


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