Agència per a la Qualitat del Sistema Universitari de Catalunya

Access the content (Alt + 1)


Access to the menu section (Alt + 2)


AQU Catalunya has released an initial assessment of the results of the 3rd study on labour market outcomes of university graduates in Catalonia. The survey and analysis were based on a sample of 53% of the graduates in the 2003-2004 academic year from the seven public universities in Catalonia (UB, UAB, UPC, UPF, UdG, UdL, URV) and the UVic and UOC. A total of 12,553 graduates were covered by the survey.

Document PDF PDF Results of the 3rd study on labour market outcomes of university graduates

Enllaç extern 3rd study on labour market outcomes of university graduates. Results by degree programme and university [ca]

Enllaç extern 3rd study on labour market outcomes of university graduates. Graphics by degree programme and university [ca]

In relation to the employment outcomes of new professionals, the following conclusions have been drawn:

Employment outcomes

Three years after graduating, 93.5% of those surveyed were in employment. 88% of those employed were working full-time. 3% of the graduates surveyed were unemployed (6% in Humanities and 2% in the Health Sciences and Engineering and Architecture). 79% of graduates were unemployed for less than six months. The main reasons for graduates not finding work were: they were not attracted by the salary level; they did not like the job they were being offered; and their lack of practical and professional experience.

Job stability

The percentage of employed graduates with a permanent contract from 53% to 58.6% increased over the last three years. Those with a temporary job contract made up 30% of the total. The contractual situation was more stable for those working full-time (88% of those employed), with 64% on a permanent contract and 29% on a temporary contract. Of graduates working part-time, the percentage of permanent contracts was 36%, whereas part-time contracts accounted for 52%.

Public and private sector

The study shows a 6% increase in recruitment in the public sector compared to the previous study, with 29% of graduates working in the public sector in 2005 and 35.6% in 2008. The percentage figure for recruitment in the private sector went down from 70.6% (2005) to 64.4% (2008).

Job suitability and degree qualifications

82% of the employed graduates were required to have a degree qualification when recruited, representing a 6 per cent increase compared to the previous study (75%). 63% were highly suitable, i.e. a specific degree qualification was required and job functions were specific to the degree. This represents an increase compared to 2005 (59%). These figures show that, within the corresponding economic context, a degree qualification is a key factor for gaining employment. Of the remaining 17%, 6% carry out university functions although a degree was not necessary to be recruited.

Annual salary

Almost 40% of full-time employed graduates earn more than €24,000 a year. Salaries are highest in Engineering and Architecture, with 65% of graduates in these fields on the highest income level (more than €2,000 a month). In the field of Humanities, only 20% earn more than €2,000 a month.

Current job satisfaction

On a scale of 1 to 7, graduates carrying out university functions gave a rating of 5.5 for general satisfaction with their current job. Out of the various aspects of work, job content was the most satisfactory, with the least satisfactory being the usefulness of knowledge acquired.

The process of finding a job

40% of graduates already had a job two years prior to finishing their studies, with a percentage that varied from 29% in Experimental Sciences to 49% in Engineering and Architecture. 76% found a job within three months of finishing their studies.

Access to the labour market

Personal contacts (34%) was the way that the highest percentage of graduates gained access to the labour market, and the Internet the second most important way, which accounted for 13%. The percentage for jobs through advertisements in the press has decreased markedly in recent years and now only accounts for 8%. The university careers services (10%) and job placement/work experience during studies (10.4%) are the two other important ways that graduates gain access to the labour market.

Combining study and work

The combining of studies and work continues to predominate (59% of all graduates). 64% of the graduates who worked during the last two years of their studies did so in jobs related to their studies, and 15% of graduates were already satisfactorily working full-time in the last two years prior to completing their studies. This percentage varied from 21% in Engineering and Architecture to 7% in Humanities and Experimental Sciences.


One third of all graduates had some experience of mobility. There has hardly been any increase in student mobility during studies over the last three years.

Satisfaction with the degree studied

74% of graduates would choose the same studies if they had to start over again. This percentage, which is higher than in 2005 (71%), varied between 71% in Humanities (72% in Engineering and Architecture) to 80% in the Health Sciences. This increase is logical, given the improved labour market outcomes in this study and it can be seen in the higher employment and job stability rates.

According to degree programmes, there are five in which more than 90% of those surveyed would take the same studies again: Dentistry, Medicine, Infant Teaching, Physical Education Teaching, and Special Education Teaching. There were four degree programmes that less than half of the graduates would take the same studies again if they had to start over: Telecommunications Technical Engineering (Electronic Systems), Market Research and Techniques, Public Management and Administration, and Tourism.

Appraisal of university studies

The five most necessary skills required in a job are: problem solving, team work, decision making, critical thinking and computer skills. Graduates assessed the level of theoretical training they received as ‘good’, and the level of practical training as ‘sufficient’. The five skills where graduates proved to be most deficient in carrying out their work were: languages, computer skills, decision making, problem solving and leadership.

Continuing studies

Three quarters of the students continued to improve their training after graduating. The majority of them continued studying, either by taking a Master’s programme (26%) or specialised courses (21%).

Gender and labour market outcomes

Male and female students study different types of degrees, and their distribution is different according to fields of knowledge. Amongst female graduates, the Social Sciences accounted for the highest number of degree holders, whereas Engineering and Architecture accounted for the highest number of graduates amongst male students. Female students were in fact a majority in all fields (more than 60%) except for Engineering and Architecture, where only 27% of graduates were female. There was no gender difference with regard to work situation although in terms of annual gross salary and stability, the situation was more favourable for male graduates. Differences between male and female graduates did not occur in all degree programmes and/or fields of knowledge.

Labour market outcomes at the Catalan Open University (UOC), consolidation and professional advancement

Students at the UOC are different to students at campus-based universities, which is shown by the fact that almost two thirds had completed previous degree programmes (61%) when starting their studies and almost 90% worked full-time during their studies. Other rates for employment (98%), stability (80% with a permanent contract) and high salaries (only 8% earns less than €15,000 a year and 27% earn more than €40,000 a year) showed that, more than being in a situation of transition to the labour market, this is a mature group of graduates that is in a process of consolidation and advancement in terms of professional career.

Graduates from the UOC carry out university-level functions (the percentage varies between 85% for those with a university degree prior to studying at the UOC and 77% for those taking their first degree at the UOC). Nevertheless, few graduates carry out functions specific to the degree obtained at the UOC (18%). 87.3% would take the same degree programme again, and 95.6% would choose the UOC again if they had the opportunity.

Survey details

Documento PDF PDF Survey

Year: 2008

Faculties and universities: UB, UAB, UPC, UPF, UdG, UdL, URV, UVic and UOC

Population and sample: 23.023 / 12.258 (The reference population completed their university studies in the 2003-04 academic year, except for graduates of Medicine (2000-01).