January 2017


Graduate employment outcomes: an overview

Editorial Department - AQU Catalunya

AQU Catalunya has been coordinating the survey of employment/labour market outcomes of graduates of the university system in Catalonia for the last seventeen years. As can be seen from the following figure, this project has undergone a constant increase over the years:

Com ha evolucionat el projecte IL?


And it has grown precisely because of the valuable information provided by the university system in Catalonia. The survey provides data on employment (employment rate, unemployment rate, inactivity rate), the quality of employment (the production sectors that graduates work in, salaries, job responsibilities, type of contract (permanent or temporary, full-time or part-time, etc.), and graduate satisfaction with the degree course taken, all of which is key information that can be used for introducing improvements into the university system. This includes the assessment of skills acquired by graduates during their university studies; the usefulness in the workplace of skills acquired by graduates during their degree studies; and graduate satisfaction with both the degree course taken and their university. Data of this kind have so far been gathered over five separate surveys, one every three years, and provide information that is valuable for establishing indicator trends.

Although certain exact data on occupations and employment can be obtained from other registry sources (for example, Social Security data), data on occupational quality and satisfaction with the degree course taken can only be obtained by actually asking the graduates themselves.

So what are the data for? In addition to studies on the university system and long-term trends and prospects, the data are made available to the universities for more in-depth analysis; relevant indicators are published on WINDDAT, the indicators website used for monitoring programme delivery that provides for the comparison of programmes of study, with the more important indicators also being published on the EUC degree course portal, which provides information on the quality of all degree courses run at Catalan universities; and, lastly, we close the cycle of improvement by analysing the indicators required in programme accreditation and through enhancement measures.

The graduate employment outcomes survey first began with the graduates, but the universities promptly expressed an additional need for information on the opinion of employers regarding the employability and skills of recent graduates entering the world of work. This is how the quality assurance of graduate employment outcomes from the employers' perspective (2014-2016) project came about, which was carried out with support from the La Caixa Foundation.

This project, which involved the participation of various different departments (Enterprise, Universities, Education, Civil Service and Health) of the Government of Catalonia/Generalitat de Catalunya, involved the analysis of various generic aspects, including graduate recruitment and hiring, skills development, the need for workplace training, and enterprise-university cooperation. Relevant information was also provided for Education, Teaching, Nursing and Medicine.

Given that this project generated a lot of interest, AQU Catalunya has subsequently obtained the trust of the Government of Catalonia/Generalitat de Catalunya and the La Caixa Foundation to carry out another employers surveys for the 2017-2019 period. In the new survey, greater emphasis will be placed on specific sectors of production and, in addition to the categories in the first survey, the new survey will cover Tourism, Engineering and ICT, Biosciences, Pharmacy, Legal Services, Humanities and Cultural Industries.

The sixth survey of graduate employment outcomes and the second employers survey will provide Catalonia with an overview of the graduate population from Catalan universities that will undoubtedly serve to improve and enhance provision in higher education, as well as raising the awareness of the needs of both the universities and society in order to better place Catalan universities and their students in a globalised world.


Generalitat de Catalunya

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© 2017 AQU Catalunya - Legal number B-21.910-2008