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Civil service employers

Around one third of all graduates are employed in the public sector. According to data from AQU Catalunya’s graduate employment outcomes surveys, In 2014 24.5% of the survey interviewees in employment were working in the public sector. The corresponding percentage in the surveys carried out in 2008 and 2011 was 35%, which was prior to the impact of the economic crisis and budgetary restrains in public administration.

Given the importance of the public sector in terms of graduate employment, the opinion of public sector employers has been included in the employers project. AQU Catalunya has carried out three different surveys on the public sector covering the civil service, education and teaching, and health.

In the case of the civil service, the Generalitat de Catalunya’s Secretariat for Public Administration and Civil Service (Human Resources) facilitated contact with 66 government departments that had recruited recent graduates over the last five years (not including Education or Health). Out of these 66 different government departments, 11 completed the survey.

Although nothing can be inferred from these results, they are informative as regards the skills of recent graduate recruits.

PDF Presentation of the findings of the Employers survey - the Civil Service [Catalan]

Recruitment of recent graduates

  • In contrast to the private sector, the degrees of graduate recruits in the civil service were mainly in Law, Sociology, Social Welfare and Political Science.
  • A Bachelor’s degree is a basic requirement for eligibility to positions in Public Administration at this level. Public sector employers were unanimous as regards the importance of this. The importance of a Master’s degree was considered of less importance, and even more so in the case of a doctoral degree/PhD, in line with the findings on private sector employers.
  • Periods of time spent studying or working abroad, foreign qualifications, work experience and the university’s reputation were all valued to a lesser extent by public sector employers than by private sector employers.
  • As with private sector employers, employers in the public sector also said they had difficulties in staff recruitment due to a shortage of candidates with the right skills for the job and/or in a given field.


Workplace training of recent graduates

  • The majority of government departments provided recent graduate recruits with workplace training, as was the case with private sector enterprises.
  • The main reasons for workplace training for recent graduates in public institutions are similar to those in the private sector: to improve sector-specific skills, improve general and soft skills, and to help employees adapt to the characteristics and/or culture of the enterprise.

Skills of recent graduates

  • Public sector employers were more satisfied with their graduate recruits than employers in the private sector, given that, in various cases, the level of satisfaction with the skills exceeded the level of importance attributed to the skill.
  • The main coincidences with the findings of employers in the private sector are the most highly rated skill, i.e. demonstrating responsibility at work, and the lowest rated skills, which were skills in negotiation, leadership and numeracy.
  • Language skills were rated lower by employers in the public sector, compared to employers in the private sector.

University-organisation cooperation

  • Work experience and placement is the most frequent way that organisations cooperate with the universities, which is also the case with private sector enterprises.
  • As with the private sector, activities and actions to enhance the employability of recent graduates were rated very highly. These include compulsory work placement in curricula, the inclusion of practical classes in courses, providing support to graduates after obtaining their degree (facilitate relations between graduates and enterprises) and making courses more relevant to company requirements.
  • In comparison with the private sector, less frequent use was made of university careers and information services (careers, employment and placement services) given that the recruitment procedure in public administration is standardised and centralised.


PDF PDF Civil service survey

Year conducted: November-December 2014

Reference population: 66 contact persons in different departments of the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia) that had recruited recent graduates in the last five years. The achieved sample was 11 responses, which represented a response rate of 16.67% and a sample error of 27.74%.