Agència per a la Qualitat del Sistema Universitari de Catalunya

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The aggregate results of this survey according to subject areas are published in:

Document PDF PDF Educació Superior i Treball. Estudi de la inserció laboral dels graduats de les universitats públiques catalanes. [ca]

The main conclusions of the survey on the labour market outcomes of graduates from public universities in Catalonia are as follows:

University studies and employment

Those who obtain a university degree are clearly orientated towards getting a job and professional activities, and a high percentage of them form part of the working population. Possession of a university degree is also and advantage when searching for a job. The answer to the question of whether university graduates are unemployed three years after graduation from university is clearly no. Only 6% of university graduates were unemployed three years after completing their studies. Humanities and the Experimental Sciences (11%) and Engineering (3%) had the highest and lowest figures. 4% of the total group that was studied were idly unemployed (unemployed and not in search of work); in the case of the Experimental Sciences, the figure was 9%.

Do you just study? Or do you study and work at the same time?

59% of graduates were full-time students (73% and 77% in the Health Sciences and Experimental Sciences, respectively) while 14% were full-time employed (6% and 5% in the Health Sciences and Experimental Sciences, respectively). The remainder worked part-time. There is therefore a clear trend for young people to go on to higher levels of studies as a gurarantee of being able to compete more favourably in the labour market. The number of young people combining work with studies is therefore likely to increase over the next ten years (according to a study by the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce 2002).

Work experience and job quality

Studying and working in a job related with the field of study is an important factor leading to a better quality employment for graduates in Catalonia. 70% of those with a degree-related job considered that their education-job match was appropriate. Out of those who only studied, 65% were of the same opinion. In the case of those with jobs unrelated to their studies, however, the figure drops to 47%.

Why so much education?

Two thirds of all graduates considered that, in terms of education-job match, they were well matched in their jobs. 14% were of the opinion that, on being hired, the job requirements were not graduate level. In the case of 7%, their employer had not recognised the fact that, even though a university degree was not a requirement when hired (possibly related to subsequent wage benefits), their job was "graduate-level". Only 15% of graduates were not required to have a university degree when hired and did not consider that graduate-level strudies were necessary for their job duties and responsibilities (i.e. that there is over-education). Engineering and Architecture (6%) and the Health Sciences (3%) and the Humanities (over 32%) scored the lowest and highest.

The slow and precarious context of the current scenario

The figures show that, three years after having finished their studies, over 50% of all employed graduates had already been working prior to finishing their studies, and 26% within three months. Only 5% took more than a year to find a job (9% in the case of the Humanities and Experimental Sciences). In relation to job stability, 55% of those employed had a permanent contract, 8% were self-employed, 36% had a provisional contract (only 26% for Engineering compared to 50% for Humanities and the Experimental Sciences) and 2% were working black without a contract. Two negative facts regarding graduate labour market outcomes are the deceleration of employment in the public sector and salaries that, during the first few years of employment, are higher in the private sector for most graduates.

Mobility or regional settlement?

There is a clear trend for graduates in Catalonia to remain in the same region where they studied. Only 6% of all graduates worked outside of Catalonia, and 71% of all graduates from the seven public universities in Catalonia worked in the province of Barcelona, whereas 12% of graduates from the universities in the province of Barcelona worked elsewhere.

Gaining access to employment

Friends and acquaintances were the main way of getting a job (40%), followed by job advertisementss in the press (17%), work experience placement in companies during their time at university (9%) and university careers offices (8%). Institutional employment services are used very little (3%).

Gender, university studies and employment

The data show that the situation of female graduates in Catalonia is no different to that of men in terms of level of employment, job quality and the time taken to find a job. There are clear differences however with regard to salaries. In the lower bracket (up to 18,000 euros), the percentage is higher for female graduates whereas between 18,000 and more than 40,000 euros the situation is the opposite, with the biggest difference between 18,000-30,000. International studies show that wage discrimination is a clearly observable constant.

Overall job satisfaction

In general, graduates are satisfied with their overall employment situation: a value of 5.38 (out of a scale from 1 to 7, equivalent to 7.7 in a scale from 0 to 10) was obtained on average from the telephone surveys with minimal differences between subject areas (5.26 for Humanities and the Experimental Sciences compared to 5.57 for the Health Sciences). In the European study (García-Montalvo and Mora, 2000), responses to the question whether their current job was satisfactory gave a value of 6.6 in a scale from 0 to 10.

Assessment of undergraduate studies

Theoretical and practical training: It is highly significant that graduates valued the theoretical training they received at university much more highly than the practical training. The differences between the levels of training received at university and the demands for this training in the workplace would appear to indicate a deficit of practical training. No excellent or fail values were given for the level of studies. Core competences: (e.g. communication skills, team work, leadership, problem solving, critical thinking, reasoning, creativity, management and implementation skills). There is a tendency here for graduates to value the training received in these skills less highly than those that refer to theoretical and practical training although they gave a higher value to the need for these skills in their job. Aside from theoretical training, there is therefore a negative spread between the value of training received and that required in a graduate-level job.

Degree repetition as an indicator of satisfaction

Almost 70% stated that they would take the same degree again. 1 out of 3 graduates were not very satisfied with the degree they took. The differences basically affect Engineering (1 out of 4) and Humanities, where around 40% would not repeat the same degree. The data obtained in this survey are similar to those used in the National Graduates Surveys in Canada, which is one of the more reliable surveys at the international level.


Survey details

Documento PDF PDF Survey

Year: 2001

Faculties and Universities: UB, UAB, UPC, UPF, UdG, UdL, URV.

Population and sample: 21.178 / 9.765